Podmedics, founded in the UK in 2007, got started as a way for founder and former family practitioner Ed Wallitt to make use of travel time by recording his medical notes by dictaphone. The notes became popular among classmates prompting his desire to release the notes to the general public through his website and itunes where it became a featured podcast.
Podmedics now features both podcasts and an online learning environment where a user can keep and download notes associated with the podcasts. Their latest work, The Podmedics Do Surgery, is getting attention as it is the first medical ibook created specifically for medical students.
Podmedics started out as a series of podcasts on various medical topics. How did the ibook come about?
Wallitt: ibooks immediately opened up the possibility for really anybody who can work a word processor to be able to produce a textbook. But not just any textbook — a textbook that includes also interactive images and video. So for us at podmedics this was perfect. We already have all these videos and we have a large image bank as well. So it was just a question of getting a grip on the technology and getting a few like-minded people together to produce something quickly almost like an experiment in this area to see the kind of thing we could produce. It was quite amazing because none of us have publishing experience but apple through ibooks created a really great way for anybody, really [to teach].
How have you seen people are using your ibook so far?
Wallitt: I don’t really know actually! I know that we are doing fairly well with a lot of people downloading it, enjoying it and finding it useful. It’s not a complete textbook, it’s sort of an experiment. An experiment by non-publishers in the field of publishing and using all these different media. My hope for the book is not in the intrinsic content of the book but in the message we are getting across to people — to try to empower people to say ‘look’ you don’t have to spend a year sitting down with some publisher to be able to produce something that is worthwhile.
What should we be expecting from Podmedics in the next year?
Wallitt: I am very enthusiastic about the idea of changing the way medical students write notes. Over the years there is a lot of repetition that goes on. I would like those notes to be more meaningful by harnessing current technology. By more meaningful I mean: make them better organized, make them digital, make them exist in the cloud, and make them accessible from all the devices medical students use. For example: you go to some lectures on dermatology. You make some notes on your laptop and you put them up into the cloud. You can access those notes and read them anywhere you are. Taking them a step further, wouldn’t it be great if you’re, say, with a patient and they give you permission take a picture of their rash relevant to that lecture in dermatology and add that sort of like a memory to your medical system. So eventually if you came back a year or two years later for an exam you suddenly go ‘oh yeah, I remember that patient. I remember that rash.’ And suddenly that lecture becomes so much more richer and meaningful to you as student. It’s like you’re creating your own medical textbook yourself throughout medical school.
Download the ibooks for free here: http://podmedics-do-surgery.s3.amazonaws.com/ThePodmedicsDoSurgery.ibooks
Or through itunes: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/podmedics-approach-surgery/id507864749?mt=11