When I joined the world of clinical medicine, I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of medical knowledge available to the physician. In addition to all that I needed to remember from medical school, there was a rapidly expanding world of medical literature, podcasts, tweetorials, chalktalks, conferences, and clinical pearls acquired during patient care from which to learn. Incorporating the valuable lessons from this array of content into my practice was a wonderful goal in theory, yet nearly impossible in practice. Ultimately, my phone filled up with pictures of physical exam findings, ECG tracings, and chest x-ray snapshots. My Twitter bookmarks transformed into an extensive list of fantastic, but unorganized and unsearchable tweetorials. My email account became chock full of important articles that I never found the time to read or review again. I was being exposed to and collecting new medical knowledge, but rarely was I incorporating it into my practice.
Over time, I discovered that I was not alone in my quest to effectively wrangle this world of excellent medical content. Doctors around me were struggling with modern medical knowledge management as well; many had disorganized knowledge management systems or, more often, no system at all. In response to this challenge, some of the best clinicians I knew created systems for themselves in apps such as Evernote, OneNote, and Notion. They built external brains that allowed them to build more robust and complex networks of medical knowledge, far outpacing the effectiveness of the “whatever sticks in my memory, sticks” method. Fascinated by the prospect of building my own external brain for a lifetime of learning, I explored many of the apps they used, but found them difficult to use. None aligned with the way I captured, organized, and retrieved medical knowledge in my own mind.
By the time I seriously explored building a personal medical knowledge management system, Graham Ramsey and I had already founded Glass Health with the goal of empowering a clinician community that was being crushed by heavy workloads and worsening burnout on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognized that diagnosis and treatment plan development was the heart of medicine, and we hypothesized that a best-in-class medical knowledge management system could benefit our clinicians throughout the world. Alongside our good friend Julian Genkins, MD, who was at the time a resident at UCSF and is now a clinical informatics fellow at Stanford University School of Medicine, we set out to build Glass Notebook, the first digital notebook designed for doctors.
Glass Notebook is a medical knowledge management platform tailored to the way physicians learn, think, and practice. To accomplish this goal, we have built page types and templates that support the common knowledge constructs that physicians use in clinical reasoning. For example, in Glass Notebook, Schemas are pages dedicated to how to go from an undifferentiated medical problem (e.g., fever or shortness of breath) all the way to a diagnosis (e.g., pneumonia). Scripts are pages that contain all of the information that a physician knows about a given diagnosis, including its prevention, epidemiology, presentation, and treatment. These Schemas and Scripts in Glass Notebook can be linked together to represent the way they flow into one another in clinical reasoning. Going forward, we will continue to support clinicians building Schemas and Scripts and develop page types for other common clinician uses, such as pages focused on procedures or medications.
With Glass Notebook, we also help physicians capture medical knowledge in ways that are tailored to the ergonomics of practicing medicine. Our Pearl quick-drop feature helps doctors capture discrete bits of clinical information that come up during patient care so that they can later be connected to key concepts. Given the importance of reflecting on cases and tracking patient outcomes, we make it easy to log cases and their valuable lessons. In the future, we plan to support the quick capture of ECG tracing, snapshots of radiology imaging, and physical exam findings. A web-clipper that will allow physicians to easily capture tweetorials and journal articles from the web is on its way as well.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the Glass Notebook journey thus far has been the rapidly growing community around the platform. Already, many have collaborated on beautiful pages (e.g., Acute Decompensated Heart Failure, Hypoxemia Rapid Response, and Hypotension Rapid Response) and shared them with friends or the broader medicine community, which are now available immediately upon joining the platform. We believe in the power of this community to build something better than we could have ever built alone, and we are already planning ways to bring Glass Notebook users closer together.
The Glass Health team is grateful for all of the support that Glass Notebook has received over the past several months. As always, we are dedicated to making this platform the best that it can possibly be. You can try Glass Notebook yourself at glass.health and follow us to become part of the Glass Health journey at GlassHealthHQ.
Dereck Paul, MD
Cofounder & CEO
P.S. For physicians or physicians-in-training who are interested in working with Glass Health, especially creating clinical content, please email us at email@example.com.