Since its debut in 1995, more than 250,000 people from 54 countries throughout the world have visited the Academy's home page.
"Surveys and statistics have shown us that many of the people who visit the Academy's web site want more clinical information," said Paul C. Collins, MD, chairman of the AAOS On-Line Service Editorial Board. "So, we are in the process of increasing the educational opportunities available on-line."
The Academy already conducts discussion groups on a variety of clinical topics ranging from foot and ankle problems to musculoskeletal tumors on the home page. In the coming months, password-protected discussion groups will be offered that only can be accessed by Academy members.
The Academy recently started to offer sample questions from its Special Interest Self-Assessment Examination series on the home page. The "Special Interest Exam Questions-of-the-Month" already has attracted more than 850 visitors since its introduction in December.
Every month, a new series of 10 questions is offered to test an individual's knowledge on a variety of orthopaedic topics including shoulder and elbow, hip, knee, spine, foot and ankle, trauma, sports medicine, musculoskeletal tumors and diseases and pediatrics.
Each question includes a list of possible answers. Once a selection is made, a detailed explanation of the correct answer along with a list of references for review appears on the computer screen.
Much interest also has been generated about the still images and audio clips taken from an Academy member-produced Annual Meeting videotape entitled "Extended Trochanteric Osteotomy in Revision Total Hip Arthroplasty" on the home page. Individuals with a 28.8 modem, sound card and RealAudio Player 3.0 (the RealAudio Player 3.0 is available for downloading at no cost) on their computers can view video footage of actual surgical procedures along with accompanying commentary. The images and audio were edited by Academy fellow Jeffrey D. Reuben, MD.
In the future, the Academy plans to offer "Orthopaedic Case
of the Month,"
in which a patient case study is presented and individuals are asked to answer a series of questions about diagnosis and treatment of a certain orthopaedic condition.
"From the moment the patient walks into the office to final treatment decisions, we will be asking users to provide answers to very specific questions about a case," Dr. Collins said. "And throughout the entire case, we plan on providing detailed explanations on why certain decisions should be made by the orthopaedist."
The editorial board plans on using X-rays to accompany each case study. There also will be a listing of reference articles included in the answers to each question.
According to Dr. Collins, future plans for the home page are being developed every day. There is some discussion concerning how to offer continuing medical education courses on the Academy's home page.
"We want to hear Academy members' ideas about on-line educational oportunities," Dr. Collins said. "So, we are asking everyone to start visiting the home page to see what the Academy has to offer, and to let us know their ideas on how to improve it."
The Academy's home page address is http://www.aaos.org. All items listed in the article can be found by visiting the "All New" section.