Welcome to my blog, a place to explore and learn about the experience of running a psychiatric practice. I post about things that I find useful to know or think about. So, enjoy, and let me know what you think.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Lifelong Learning-A New Frontier

This post is tangentially about Maintenance of Certification (MOC). So before I get to the main point, I want to refer readers to Jim Amos' blog, The Practical Psychosomaticist. The link will take you to a form letter to oppose MOC and MOL (Maintenance of Licensure). Dr. Amos generously gives me top credit for it, but it's actually a letter he sent to the AMA and APA, that I modified to make it convenient for other people to use.

Check it out, consider how you feel about MOC and MOL, and if you're so inclined, mail it off.

I've already written about my feelings regarding MOC. So let's get to the main topic, Lifelong Learning. Let's assume the world suddenly becomes a sensible place, and the inane requirements for MOC are done away with. No expensive recertification exam, no dumb PIPs, no useless CME credits. I still consider it my obligation to stay current, so I can take better care of my patients.

What I do now, and would probably continue to do in the aforementioned utopia, is subscribe to The Carlat Report and UpToDate. The Carlat Report doesn't take money from drug companies or other sponsors. And UpToDate is just an excellent resource all around. And no, they're not paying me to write this. (Full Disclosure: I was paid by The Carlat Report for my article in their May edition, but that's the extent of my financial relationship with them).

I've also recently subscribed to NEJM's Journal Watch Psychiatry, but I'm just testing it out at this point, so I can't comment.

But here's a new idea. Or maybe it isn't new, but I don't know about it:

Online Journal Club!

It's the kind of thing that LinkedIn and Facebook lend themselves to. Post a free article online, maybe once a week, allow some time for people to read it, and then ask people to write in and discuss it.

People could suggest articles, and vote on which one they want to read next. And it's free. And collaborative. And the kind of thing I tried to do with my residents, back when I was a unit chief.

A book club would work, too, but that would involve a purchase.

There are all kinds of online learning resources:

MIT's OpenCourseWare
MIT and Harvard's EdX
The Khan Academy

Why not, The Psychiatry Collaboration?

I'd love for readers to comment on this post. Let me know what kind of lifelong learning works for you. Where do you go to stay current? Would you participate in a free online journal club?

How about this article:

A Rating Scale for Depression, by Max Hamilton
J. Neurol. Neurosurg. Psychiat., 1960, 23, 56.

I found the link to it on the BMJ site. I've never read it before, and sure, it's from 1960, but it might be interesting and fun to read about the early development of the HAM-D.


  1. Bravo. I sent this to the chief resident in our department. I’d like to get feedback from our trainees. I wonder what Steve Balt, MD, The Carlat Report: Psychiatry editor-in-chief and blogger (Thought Broadcast) would think?

    1. Well thank you. I'd love for people to read the paper and write in. I'm gonna try to do so, myself. It seems like such a simple thing to do, although I want to retract my rash, "once a week" suggestion. More like once a month. I guess I could send a link to Steve Balt. I had some very nice exchanges with him when I was writing the CPT article. Ya think?

    2. Monthly may be more practical, but I still really like the idea of an on-line journal club—as long as I don’t have to understand factor analysis. I’m a geezer. I think Steve would love the idea.

      We’re going to SurveyMonkey the residents about it, with a link to your post by way of introduction.

      The article is fantastic on quick scan, just for historical perspective. I’m all for something like this as a lifelong learning activity, especially since I just shelled out $1500 for my ABPN application to recertify for Psychosomatic Medicine.


    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    4. Sorry for the deleted comment. I thought it would just disappear, since it was a duplicate. Your comments come up as jajsamos911.