What would a flipped checkup look like?

When we moved to Irving, TX and I decided to join a practice in nearby Lewisville, I realized I wanted to know more about the schools in the area and get a feel for the culture of the teachers that would be teaching my patients and kids.  I searched online and found great and encouraging information about Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Irving and Lewisville school districts.  I also looked up several teachers and administrators.

While I expected to get good information, I never expected to learn a concept that I hope to incorporate into my medical practice, but that is exactly what happened.  I followed an educator on Twitter who is the technology integration specialist for the Lewisville Independent School District and she has since “introduced” me to a concept known as the flipped classroom (even though she doesn’t know it yet).

Wikipedia describes flipped learning as “a form of blended learning in which students learn new content online by watching video lectures, usually at home, and what used to be homework (assigned problems) is now done in class with teachers offering more personalized guidance and interaction with students, instead of lecturing.”

So, students watch lectures at home in the afternoon then come to school the next day to do homework and other projects during class time.  This gives the teacher time and opportunity to address what the student doesn’t understand from the lectures rather than have students turn to their parents for their calculus homework (when dad had trouble passing algebra).

So, how does this apply to me and my practice?

I’d like to have more patients to do “flipped checkups.”

In the flipped classroom, student listen to lectures at home and come prepared to do work and application related to the material.  In a flipped checkup, parents would read and learn about the upcoming checkup (check out this page on my blog: checkups for an example), develop specific questions and then allow me to get into deeper, higher-level education when they come in for their checkup.

Yes, contrary to the stereotype, you did just hear a doctor advocate that his patients do online research prior to their visit (but I want it to be good information).  In fact, it’s the reason I started my blog in the first place.  I wanted my patients to be able to access my advice (in effect, access me) when I wasn’t there beside them to answer their questions.  I wanted them to have a place to go that had accurate recommendations that fit with my philosophy. (So, why not have them actually be my recommendations, right?)

Here’s an example of how it could go:

Family has 4 months checkup scheduled.

They review the 4-month checkup blog post.

Family comes in for a 4-month checkup.

They say, “We read your blog 4-month check-up blog post and are ready to start solids and he seems to be developmentally OK but we did have some more questions about helping him sleep through the night.”

This allows me to touch on the other areas for clarity and completeness but spend the majority of the rest of the visit discussing in depth about sleeping and some options for sleep training (or not, depending on the family’s preference).

When the child is older we could cover the topics located in my Masters in Parenting series to cover some topics of development more deeply.

So, this leads me to some questions for you:

  1. Is this something you’d be interested in?
  2. If you wanted to do it, how could I make it easier for you?

Justin Smith is a pediatrician who blogs at DoctorJSmith.  He can be reached on Twitter @TheDocSmitty.

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