August 2000 Bulletin

‘Just-in-time’ a bold step into future

By Carolyn Rogers

With the recent approval of an ambitious online educational program called Just-in-Time Surgery Online, the Academy took a bold step forward into the future of orthopaedics. What exactly does this mean to you?

Say it’s 5 p.m. and surgery is scheduled for tomorrow morning–a carpal tunnel release or an anterior shoulder repair, perhaps. You haven’t done this procedure in a while and you need a refresher, or maybe you’re just curious what a well-known specialist in the area has to say about the latest techniques. You’ve only got 10 or 15 minutes to spare, and you need the information right now - "just in time." Good luck, right? Well, flash forward one year–to September 2001–and your luck will change. By then, Just-in-Time Surgery Online–a virtual one-stop shop for orthopaedic knowledge–will be at your fingertips.

"Just-in-Time Surgery Online is a web-based educational program designed to meet the needs of the busy orthopaedic surgeon who wants an efficient and convenient way to review a surgical procedure," says Joseph D. Zuckerman, MD, chair of the AAOS Council on Education.

At the present time, once surgery is indicated and the most appropriate surgical procedure is identified, orthopaedic surgeons often refer to information from texts and journals as a way of updating their knowledge about the procedure. With the Just-in-Time Surgery Online series, orthopaedic surgeons will be able to visit the Academy’s virtual Orthopaedic Campus at the and get their surgical refresher and resources for further study all in one place. The site will be updated periodically as new procedures and more current information becomes available.

"It’s designed in a hierarchical style," Dr. Zuckerman says. "There are really two pieces to this, which are linked. First, there’s the ‘Just in Time’ portion. If the user has 10 or 15 minutes, he or she can quickly get the indications, approach, technical aspects, postoperative course, etc., for any number of procedures. If you have more time to work with, then the second piece, Orthopaedic R&R (Reference and Review) links you to different levels of information–a virtual orthopaedic textbook, really. Reference materials will consist of Academy journal articles, texts, monographs–all the things we’ve published before and continue to publish in the future."

Although the final look of the site will not be known until after a prototype has been developed and tested, it’s expected that each procedure will be displayed according to a user-friendly template that will allow the user to review a procedure in eight to 10 minutes. The following elements will likely be a part of each procedure posted:

Just-in-Time Surgery Online is intended to be a visual learning experience rich in image and audio, with text used to enhance rather than to carry the message. This web-based approach has several benefits, including day or night accessibility and the potential for interactivity through the use of chat rooms and "ask the expert" modules. Another advantage is that the site will always be current and will be linked to comprehensive learning at other places on the site

According to the timeline, market research on which features and procedures are most desired by members is taking place between June and September 2000. The development of the first 40 procedures will take place between November 2000 and August 2001, with the program scheduled to go online in September 2001.

As Just-in-Time Surgery Online/
Orthopaedic R&R develops, it will evolve into a comprehensive, procedure-based learning tool that will ultimately cover all of the major procedures in orthopaedics. Because of its comprehensive nature, its development and maintenance will require a major effort comparable to that of developing a journal or a textbook. Thus, an editor-in-chief is being recruited for each effort–Just-in-Time and Orthopaedic R&R.

In early June, the AAOS Board of Directors approved a $500,000 allocation from the Academy’s unrestricted reserves to support the initial phase of this online education program.

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