Creating OT modules for thumbroll app

thumbroll is the platform to find and learn about medical techniques and procedures. At the beginning, there were textbooks. Then, there was video. Today, there is thumbroll.”

Understanding this evolution of learning led entrepreneur Ariella Salimpour to create thumbroll, a free app that provides step-by-step instruction of medical skills and procedures. Many health care trainees need to visually learn medical procedures in order to understand them. While YouTube is filled with these types of instructional videos, they are often unreliable, poorly edited and not validated by health-care professionals.

Seeing this resource gap, Salimpour contacted reputed, academic medical centers to create and provide the validated content for the app. She also decided early on not to use video in favor of still photography so that the visual focus would only be on the critical steps of each procedure. Washington University School of Medicine was one of the first schools across the nation to participate in the project with full support from the dean, chancellor and provost.

“We began the app’s development at the School of Medicine with a pilot program in December 2016 and quickly gained traction with the medical students and residents at WashU and other U.S. institutions. In fact, we received such unanimously positive feedback that we launched thumbroll for free on the App Store and Google Play store in January 2017,” Salimpour says.

Since the launch, Mike Awad, MD, PhD, FACS, director of the Washington University Institute for Surgical Education, and his colleagues have been working with Salimpour to create content for trainee and patient/client education. In September 2017, Awad reached out to the Program in Occupational Therapy to participate in the project. Program leaders M. Carolyn Baum, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, Steve Taff, PhD, OTR/L, FNAP, FAOTA, and Vicki Kaskutas, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA, met with Salimpour to discuss creating the first occupational therapy (OT) modules for the app.

Kaskutas, who serves as the assistant director of education evaluation and quality for the Program, took the lead on the project. Working with students Rose McAndrew, MSOT, OTR/L, CHT, and Stephanie Kibby, OTD/S ’18, Kaskutas has scripted and designed 13 goniometry of the hand modules for thumbroll. The first module in this series went live on March 7, and Kaskutas already has a list of other OT-related skills and procedures her team would like to do.

Salimpour is enthusiastic about the future collaborations with Kaskutas. “The options are endless in terms of the amount of occupational therapy content we can create together.”

Beyond creating OT content, Kaskutas also has plans to conduct research in her Innovations in Education scholarship group on thumbroll’s usage, adoption and effectiveness.

“OTs administer many evaluations and perform a wide-range of clinical skills. thumbroll reminds OT students and practicing clinicians of the specific steps that must be followed to insure that evaluations and interventions are safe, accurate and effective,” Kaskutas says.


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