Scientific researchers commonly collaborate beyond their specific institutions, and sometimes even their field, with peers around the world studying related subjects and solving adjacent challenges. Physicians, on the other hand, are typically limited to their immediate practice or physician colleagues for input on complex cases or insights into changing clinical trends. G-Med, an international, social media platform exclusively for physicians, is seeking to facilitate similar opportunities for crowdsourcing and collaboration that scientists already experience.
Today, G-Med has built a network of over 120,000 doctors from 50 different countries representing 60 different specializations. Members of the G-Med community have the ability to receive insight from peers around the world on cases they are managing, shortening diagnosis times and improving diagnostic accuracy. Participation in expert panels allows the community to discuss evolving trends and gain insight from colleagues outside of an individual specialty.
In addition to diagnostic and educational value, widespread clinical collaboration holds promise for identifying clinical trial participants and monitoring the spread of infectious disease. To learn more about G-Med and its distinction from other medically-focused social media platforms like Doximity and Sermo, Medgadget spoke with G-Med CEO Ilan Ben Ezri.
Medgadget: Let’s start with your background and where the idea for G-Med came from. What was missing in the social media market that drove you to create G-Med?
Ilan Ben Ezri: The idea for the company started with numerous physicians seeking consultation from their international peers. With crowdsourcing proving itself in many fields, the idea was to introduce this concept to the medical world and allow physicians to collaborate in both synchronized and unsynchronized forums online through a peer-to-peer platform enabling global consultation, regardless of the physician’s geographic location.
Until now, evaluating challenging case studies and consulting with peers has been the primary means by which physicians learn and stay up to date. With the advent of social media, physicians have been searching for ways to communicate and interact within the professional community. Global studies have shown that physicians prefer to engage through closed, professional platforms rather than participating in public, social networks due to the lack of privacy and identity verification.
G-Med has a strict protocols and carries out a thorough verification process to approve each physician before they can join our community. This protocol includes verifying each physician’s medical license to ensure each member is a certified physician seeking professional collaboration and contribution.
Medgadget: What are some of the core features of the G-Med platform? Where do you see the most clinical engagement of users today?
Ilan: Today, G-Med is the largest global, medical social network with over 120,000 physicians from more than 50 countries. We strive to challenge how physicians communicate and exchange ideas with each other locally and globally. We strongly believe that digital global collaboration among physicians can improve and shorten diagnosis turnaround times, fill clinical trials, increase knowledge, and enhance practice methods.
We’ve found that patient case studies are the most popular and efficient way for physicians to learn. Our platform allows physician users to present a patient’s case using text, short clinical polls, or images and promptly receive multiple professional inputs from licensed physicians around the world. About 80 percent of cases are answered within 48-72 hours from posting to the community. Following initial feedback, we noticed that the posting physician typically seeks a more in-depth discussion with one or more of the physicians who responded to gain more information and identify relevant solutions. A live video system was developed to meet this need and allow physicians to communicate directly. With the platform, there is no need to download an app or software. Members of the G-Med community discuss cases, in real-time, through private, virtual rooms and solve cases using live video tools. G-Med is the first and only existing physician social network to develop and use an integrated live video for better medical collaboration.
Medgadget: What are the benefits of a worldwide population of physician users accessing G-Med?
Ilan: G-Med provides precisely the same benefits as attending a global medical conference. Global interaction is important for various reasons including: cross-continental collaboration regardless of specialty, the opportunity to learn and study new approaches, the ability to learn from multiple different crowdsourced sources, and to find solutions to local challenges from an international angle.
Research shows that in recent years, physicians have been increasingly interested in interacting with other physicians from around the world rather than from their local region. Our experience has been absolutely amazing so far – physicians from all over the globe are enlisting to help solve cases and, in doing so, represent the best example of globalization for the medical community to date.
Our multilingual system also eliminates possible language barriers, providing an easy and clear interaction between physicians. Synchronized and unsynchronized communication options avoid time difference issues between time zones.
Medgadget: I understand that users can publish and share research on the G-Med platform? How does that work?
Ilan: Academic advancement is an area of importance for physicians. G-Med provides features to support this including tools for data collection, processing, editing, submission, publication, distribution, and discussion.
At the data collection stage, physicians can consult and share information to improve their data and receive professional reviews and feedback. G-Med then provides support by helping select an appropriate scientific journal, writing and editing in line with the format of the chosen journal, and submitting the article to the journal. Once the article has been published, the author can leverage the international community for widespread distribution. Anyone within the community can jump in to discuss the article directly with the author.
All physicians on G-Med have a personalized feed according to their fields of interests and specialty in which they can read daily scientific reviews from the world’s leading journals along with summaries of international conferences provided to our members totally free of charge.
Medgadget: You also mentioned facilitating infectious disease prevention. How does G-Med accomplish this?
Ilan: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that there are 1.7 million hospital-associated infections which either cause or contribute to 99,000 deaths per year, in the United States alone. G-Med plans to initiate one of the largest online global collaboration programs between hospitals to help address the prevention of nosocomial infections. This program connects hospitals and physicians in a focused discussion board that allows each hospital to present their own case study describing the methods used to reduce infections. Each case study can be discussed within the community and receive feedback from hospitals across the globe using similar or different strategies. Our main goal with this program is to help medical centers share their experiences, learn from one another, and support each other in implementing new procedures to prevent infection.
Medgadget: Today clinicians have a number of options for clinically-specific social media interactions between platforms like Doximity, Sermo, Daily Rounds, QuantiaMD, and others. What makes G-Med unique? Why would a physician choose to engage on G-Med’s platform over other options?
Ilan: Two words: global interaction. G-Med was founded and based on a global community allowing physicians from over 50 countries around the world to collaborate online; not a single country is restricted from the platform. This is a non-trivial challenge that we have prepared for by creating a technology platform that facilitates global discourse. With a steady drop in attendance to international conferences, G-Med is the only social network for physicians providing global interaction and networking that is crucial to physicians.
The integration of advanced live video tools to achieve quick case resolution is another unique feature. All platforms mentioned end at the crowdsourcing stage, which is exactly where G-Med’s unique position stands out as the first and only global social network for physicians to develop and integrate live video tools that enable the optimal environment for faster diagnosis following the broad crowdsourcing process. Video solutions like G-Med have proven themselves to be the game changers for online collaboration.
Another way that G-Med distinguishes itself is in trust and privacy. Every physician who is a member of G-Med can be listed with their real identity. This offers a higher level of trust and credibility in the advice that is given on a case study or discussion. However, as we do respect our member’s privacy and give them the option to engage anonymously although 90% of our physicians do prefer to post or comment with their identity.
Finally, physicians using G-Med can quickly and easily create ad hoc groups and invite the relevant colleagues into a focused discussion. This allows any of our members to establish a comfortable, personalized working environment that is most conducive to helping their case.
Medgadget: How do you think social media will continue to make an impact on physicians, and healthcare in general, in the coming years? Are there any untapped opportunities at the intersection of social media and healthcare that we have yet to take advantage of or fully realize?
Ilan: Social media has the potential to enhance and strengthen interactions with physicians in remote areas of the world where medicine isn’t as accessible. The result is collaboration and consultation with opinion leaders, research recruitment, and the creation speciality circles and medical influence.
Social media provides a high-quality volume of information for physicians based on the aggregate knowledge of colleagues rather than textbooks. I believe artificial Intelligence (AI) is best positioned to analyze this aggregate knowledge for the future benefit of the medical industry. I think another technology with potential implications for the industry is blockchain. Blockchains can help achieve a common database of medical information that physicians across the globe could access regardless of which electronic medical system they use. The technology also provides advanced capabilities around security and privacy, represents less admin time that can be given back to physicians, and improves the dissemination of research results for new drug development and disease treatment. Blockchain technology has already shown some very promising solutions in the healthcare industry and we strongly believe that it is going to be groundbreaking.
Medgadget: Anything else you’d like to share? Perhaps an anecdote of how physicians are finding real-world value from their social media interactions on G-Med today?
Ilan: Of the many cases published on our platform, one always stands out in my mind. The physician presenting the case was in an isolation region, geographically and politically speaking, which can be a delicate position to be in when treating complicated diseases. In response to the case, physicians from around the world joined in the discussion to offer professional help and guidance. One of the physicians from a nearby country took it upon himself to have the patient transferred to him in order to complete a thorough medical examination, all at the physician’s own expense, using technologies not available in the patient’s country of residence. It turned out to be an incredible achievement and experience for both physicians who now collaborate on other cases!
We have realized the impact that G-Med has had increasing the accessibility of medical care and treatment while creating opportunities to solve challenging medical cases. We invite you to read about more cases that would not have been resolved without the existence of G-Med. We look forward to continue expanding our community worldwide!