In our discipline, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, colleagues are widely dispersed across Canada. There may only be one physiatrist in the city, or even in a large section of the province. This makes it a challenge to access ongoing continuing professional development (CPD) and meet credit requirements for the MOC Program.
So, we got creative.
“Hallways consults” reimagined for an online future
Our specialty overcame the challenge of connecting with far-flung colleagues by reimagining the traditional hallway consult — something other specialties can model. We set up a service of “virtual rehabilitation hallways” on Yahoo Groups and now consult through the “Virtual Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Hallway.” This simple tool enhances our ability to reach out to and converse with colleagues across the country with subspecialty expertise in spinal cord injury.
A unique way to complete a personal learning project
Our Virtual Rehabilitation Hallways project has also given physiatrists a unique way to complete personal learning projects (PLPs) within the MOC Program. Physicians can post questions related to patient management on the Hallways site. The service then emails the question to all physician members of the group. The learner-physician may then follow up by reviewing the responses, gathering additional information or consulting further via Hallways. Not only do they have the satisfaction of ensuring the best care for their patient, they are continuing their professional development in the process. All that is left to do is document their PLP in their MAINPORT ePortfolio by entering their question, reflections and learning outcomes to claim two credits per hour spent enriching their knowledge.
A quick, effective and no-cost method for obtaining advice
There have been approximately 2,000 messages sent by members of the Virtual SCI Hallway since its inception in 2001, within roughly 300 conversations. It has proven to be a secure, successful method for physician specialists to obtain expert collegial advice in a quick, effective and no-cost method. We would recommend this method to other specialist colleagues in other disciplines of medicine or surgery in Canada, especially where these specialists are geographically distant.
— Dr. Karen Ethans, FRCPC, is a physiatrist based in Winnipeg, Man. She is director of the Spinal Cord Unit at Winnipeg's Health Sciences Centre and assistant professor in the University of Manitoba, Dept. of Internal Medicine's Section of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
— Dr. Tim Deutscher, FRCPC, is a physiatrist in Nanaimo, B.C., and the University of British Columbia. He set up and moderates the virtual hallway.
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