KEYLIME PODCAST #166: ART, EYEBALLS AND #MEDED

“Art observation training for first-year medical students can improve clinical ophthalmology observational skills. Principles from the field of visual arts, which is reputed to excel in teaching observation and descriptive abilities, can be successfully applied to medical training.”  Read on, and check out the podcast here (or on iTunes!)

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KeyLIME Session 166:

Listen to the podcast.

Read the episode abstract here.

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Gurwin J, Revere KE, Niepold S, Bassett B, Mitchell R, Davidson S, DeLisser H, Binenbaum G. A Randomized Controlled Study of Art Observation Training to Improve Medical Student Ophthalmology Skills. Ophthalmology. 2018 Jan;125(1):8-14.Epub 2017 Aug 7.

Reviewer: Jon Sherbino (@sherbino)

Background

I’ve just finished reading Walter Issaccson’s biography of Leonardo (from Vinci -Da Vinci). Like other “renaissance” geniuses, his curiosity and subsequent mastery of multiple domains (e.g. painting- more on that to come, engineering, optics, anatomy – more on that to come, architecture, mathematics, astronomy, cartography etc.) is astonishing. As medicine has become increasingly specialized, as a response to the exponential growth in medical knowledge, what is the consequence to clinical practice? The “renaissance” founders of medicine infused early medical education curricula with classical and liberal arts subjects. Such a curricular design would be unusual in a 21st C medical school. Enter PENN and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Ok- don’t worry.. this podcast won’t hurt. It’s only about art appreciation. There will be time afterward to review ELISA you ordered on that patient you saw in clinic.

Purpose

“to evaluate the effects of formal observation training in the visual arts on the general and ophthalmologic observational skills of medical students”

Key Points on Method

This was a single-blinded RCT. n=36 first year medical students

The experimental group attended 6 x 1.5 hours sessions at an art museum. A professional art educator facilitated the sessions using the “artful thinking” approach that focuses on introspection and observation prior to interpretation, aided by a standardized vocabulary of description, contrast and interpretation.

The control group received a complimentary membership to the museum.

The analysis involved a pre-post design. The testing included two different tests. The description test involved providing a description of an art scene, a funduscopic image and an external eye (anterior globe and periorbital structures) image. A standardized scoring rubric was used by the art educators to produce a score. The second test was an open-access MCQ test on interpreting an actor’s emotional state after reviewing a photograph of their eyes.

The study received REB approval.


Key Outcomes

The experimental group improved their descriptive skills. (Mean change = +19.1 [SD 32.3] v. 13.5 [SD 21.3] p=0.001) There were significant improvements in the experimental vs. control group for each of the subscores (art images, funduscopic images, external eye images).

There was no difference in pre-post scores between the experimental and control groups with interpreting the emotional state of actors based on images of their eyes.

Key Conclusions

The authors conclude…

“Art observation training for first-year medical students can improve clinical ophthalmology observational skills. Principles from the field of visual arts, which is reputed to excel in teaching observation and descriptive abilities, can be successfully applied to medical training.”

Spare Keys – other take home points for clinician educators

My spare key this week is from a favourite quote from the sci-fi writer Robert Heinlein

“a human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

Type of Paper

Research

 

 

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