As the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) rapidly spreads within the U.S., Christina Lang, DO, a hospitalist in Modesto, California, wants to make sure physicians are able to easily access the latest updates, guidance and information.
Dr. Lang, a community leader on a medical knowledge platform called Openxmed, has assembled a team of infectious diseases physicians, who are sorting through the latest updates, guidance and advice to curate the best information and provide it all in one place. Only physicians can make accounts on the Openxmed, and once they are logged in they can easily access the COVID-19 information and be notified by email whenever the team updates it.
In this edited Q&A, Dr. Lang discusses how she kickstarted this project, how she hopes it will help the medical community respond to this pandemic with a unified front, and how physicians can be a part of this growing platform.
What is Openxmed?
It’s a platform that’s focused on bringing together like-minded American and Canadian physicians. We want to bring medical data to physicians’ hands to speed up their ability to diagnose and treat patients. We believe primary care is the front line of medicine, and we want to empower those physicians to do their job as well as they can.
Information in health care is rapidly changing, and it’s almost impossible to keep up with it. Reading a textbook uploaded on the internet is not efficient enough.
What inspired you to get the ball rolling on the COVID-19 project for Openxmed?
When COVID-19 started spreading in the U.S., I reached out to my friends who also work in primary care. There was a major disconnect amongst physicians with what was going on and what we knew to do. A lot of the information we needed was dispersed across different web pages and not organized in a cohesive fashion. There was so much information, and none of it was filtered in a way that was easily applicable to practicing medicine.
With technology nowadays, we should be able to share information and have cohesive guidelines. South Korea has one protocol across the board, and we are dealing with multiple protocols.
Who did you reach out to for help, and what does the project look like now?
I’ve enlisted six infectious disease physicians across the U.S., and that list is growing. These doctors are filtering through all of the information out there and converting it to succinct guidelines that are up to date for primary care physicians. As a physician, you don’t have time to check for updates every five minutes, so Openxmed sends emails whenever the resource is updated, and you can get those on your phone in real time.
That’s the beauty of this platform. With any changes, these doctors are sharing the information with the community instantly.
What can physicians do to get involved and start receiving these updates?
They can register at app.openxmed.com. It is a closed physician community—there are screening questions that verify your credentials as you register. And this platform extends past COVID-19—we have teams discussing updates on congestive heart failure, diabetes and other topics. We need to be on top of what the latest guidelines are because they’re constantly changing.