Interview with Dr. Gerald Diaz
On this week’s episode of the PNC podcast, Dr. Gerald Diaz discusses how he is using his background in computer science to make physicians’ jobs a little bit easier.
Dr. Gerald Diaz is an academic hospitalist and former software engineer who founded grepmed.com. He received his medical degree from the St. Louis University School of Medicine and completed his residency in internal medicine at UC Davis.
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Gerald worked as a software engineer for four years before coming to the realization that he wanted to help people more directly. He attended medical school and completed two years of radiology training, but decided to shift to internal medicine. So, he now works as a hospitalist. In the past year and a half, however, he has also taken on a new project: GrepMed.
GepMed is a community-sourced, searchable medical image repository. It makes high yield diagnostic and management algorithms, guidelines, checklists, evidence summaries, clinical images (x-rays, rashes, ekgs, microscopy) easily searchable and accessible from any web browser.
In training, everyone carries around their copy of “Pocket Medicine.” In emergency rooms, important algorithms are posted directly on the walls. Physicians, however, do not have the space in our white coat pockets to carry the overload of information we're are expected to know.
Taking a Shortcut
GrepMed is an image-based medical reference platform. It is an alternative to digital reference resources such as UpToDate, DynaMed or Medscape, but with the visual focus of Instagram, Pinterest or a Google Image search.
Its information is crowd-sourced and verified like Wikipedia, but instead of one page, searches produce multiple results. Ultimately, GrepMed shortcuts the process of referencing a source for medical information through the use of images. GrepMed can function as an educational platform. However, Gerald intends it to be more for physicians who already know the material and need a quick reminder.
A Growing Image Repository
GrepMed’s image repository currently has over 6,000 images, and one of the largest library of ultrasound clips. The images link back to original sources, giving users the opportunity to:
- Seek additional information about the topic
- Credit the authors and educators developing these resources
- Vet the quality of the content themselves
When physicians make references and infographics to present at conferences, they are often never seen again. Similarly, if you post on Twitter, but have less than the few thousand followers necessary to gain traction on the platform, the content virtually disappears into the noise.
On GrepMed, however, medical infographics and other forms of visual references are evergreen and attract significantly more views. Anything that can be stored as an image can be uploaded as a reference on GrepMed.
Building a Startup
Because of Gerald’s background in computer science, he had realistic expectations when he started this project. He partnered with a software developer, who manages the website’s technical development.
Gerald’s short-term goal for GrepMed is to grow the database by 10 times and develop a community that contributes and verifies the content itself. Long-term, he dreams that when physicians need to find clinical information, they will turn to GrepMed first.
At some point during this growth phase, Gerald and his associates are certain that they can find a nonintrusive way to make the company self-supporting and profitable. And this will enable them to continue its expansion and improve its utility to clinicians.
Links for today's episode:
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