EM Pulse: revolutionizing emergency medicine

CAITLYN SAMPLEY / AGGIE

A different outlook for physicians, students, parents

School isn’t the only place to get educated. With an increase in accessibility of informational podcasts, people have easier access to learning more about almost anything. Whether it’s while standing in front of the bathroom mirror or during those long morning commutes to work, podcasts make learning possible between busy schedules.

UC Davis emergency physicians Julia Magaña and Sarah Medeiros saw the potential in using podcasts to “meducate” other emergency physicians and medical providers about today’s hot new topics in medicine.

“We decided on using podcasting as our medium because it’s powerful to learn fast and learn the emotions of a story,” Magaña said. “This allows us to hear the story of someone who’s had a concussion or been an addict to help further improve our care for our patients.”

Unlike other medical podcasts already available, EM Pulse takes on a new angle by use of research and storytelling.

“We just interviewed an opioid addict who’s now on the other side as a counselor in our community,” Magaña said. “Then her son went through it, so she has the perspective of being an addict herself, of being a parent of an addict and now a counselor. So we start off with a story and then talk to a researcher or investigator on a particular topic.”

EM Pulse’s tagline is “bringing research and expert opinions to the bedside.” As passionate emergency physicians who work in a research institution, Magaña and Medeiros felt the need to make innovative research more accessible for emergency physicians across the country.

“When new stuff comes out — and there’s new stuff all the time — we just want to get the word out about up-to-date, interesting research to physicians everywhere, not just people that work at UC Davis,” Magaña said. “We get patients that are transferred in from other hospitals, and sometimes [physicians] are just not getting the necessary evidence in their everyday feed.”

Magaña and Medeiros not only recognize that podcasts are a powerful method for sharing information that physicians might not have on a day-to-day basis, but also that it has the power to “meducate” on the social aspects of emergency medicine.

“We realized that we weren’t interested in just the nitty-gritty medical issues,” Medeiros said. “There are a lot of podcasts out there that talk about traditional medical issues already. While those are really important, too, we could be looking at some of these issues that affect emergency medicine but more complicated that just their biology.”

The emergency room for many patients serves as more than just a medical center. It’s a place where they can receive help, support and consolidation. EM Pulse strives to raise awareness and teach emergency physicians how to best treat their patients. The podcast discusses difficult yet pervasive issues in the country like homelessness, human trafficking and drug addiction.

“People who are healthy and have a lot of money and resources only come to the emergency room when their health is really bad, but for a lot of people who don’t fall in that category, the emergency room is kind of their safety net,” Medeiros said. “We see people who are experiencing homelessness and see those challenges as more that just their medical issue. The LGBTQ community, for example, continues to face a lot of issues socially and politically, and though it’s gotten better, we still have a long way to go.”

A goal for EM Pulse is to destigmatize issues like drug addiction to prevent discrimination in the emergency room. It’s important to humanize and ensure that each patient receives the full care they need — physically and mentally.

“In the ER, I think physicians still have a lot to learn in terms of how to make their patient feel comfortable,” Medeiros said. “There are a lot of challenges out there, and drug addiction is a huge one. There’s a lot of stigma on drug use, even though we know that addiction has a biochemical basis. People assume that [addicts] get into drug use because they are weak or bad people, and that they can get out of it if they wanted to. I mean, that’s assumed about a lot of things. Like for obesity, it’s assumed if you tried a little harder you could lose the weight. All of these things are so multifactorial, and there are bigger things than just the medical side.”

While EM Pulse exists to teach emergency physicians and medical providers, it’s something that everybody can listen to. One reviewer said that the podcast is “great for people and for people that just plain like to learn.”

“Our target is people in the medical community, but we would love everybody to listen to it — anybody that just wants to learn or hear a different aspect of medicine,” Magaña said. “Because our goal is to effect change and help disperse medical evidence.”

The podcast can also prepare pre-med students to enter their careers with a new perspective in modern medicine.

“We’re not just trying to reach out to emergency physicians, but future ones as well,” Medeiros said. “I think that there’s a lot to learn at the pre-med level and for pre-med students. I wish there had been more of this stuff when I was in pre-med.”

EM Pulse operates as a team: medical physicians, guest speakers, researchers and Julia Magaña’s husband, Orlando Magaña, an audio engineer who helps produce the podcast.

“I help filter through their ideas so they don’t stray far from the message they’re trying to convey,” said Orlanda. “I’m not technically trained in medicine, so there are some things I don’t understand from a technical standpoint. […] For me, it’s a matter of making sure that they stay on track with those things, not just with the research, but when we’re actually recording. I think the other thing is making sure that technically we’re operating at a very high level. When someone chooses to download your podcast, the least you can do is offer them something that sounds good.”

All in all, EM Pulse is here to make a difference, both in medicine and in underrepresented communities.

“You can’t make change until you know there’s a problem out there,” Julia said.

Check out their new podcast about opioid addiction on March 15 from iTunes.

 

 

Written by: Becky Lee arts@theaggie.org