October 1995 Bulletin

Computer 'boot camp' gets raves

The computer generation has arrived, and whether you like it or not, owning a computer has become a necessity. In fact, a survey conducted by the Academy, the 1994 Orthopaedic Physician Census, reports that 76 percent of orthopaedic surgeons own or have access to a personal computer.

To help orthopaedic surgeons improve their computer skills, the Academy is offering for the first time, "Orthopaedic Surgeon's Computer Boot Camp," a four-day continuing medical education course designed to help all levels of computer users.

More than 140 orthopaedic surgeons attended the first two courses in August and September at the Academy's Orthopaedic Learning Center. The courses proved to be so popular that a third course was scheduled for January, and it immediately sold-out. Two additional courses have been scheduled in 1996-July 25-28 and Oct. 17-20.

"Rather than attending a computer course once a week for several months at a community college, we found that the orthopaedic surgeons attending these courses want to learn in a very intensive atmosphere where they spend only a few days away from their practices," said John E. Lonstein, MD, course chairman.

The course format for "Orthopaedic Surgeon's Computer Boot Camp" is very basic. "We are not talking in nondescript computer jargon," said Dr. Lonstein. "We discuss some introductory components of the computer at the beginning of the course, and as individuals become more confident of their computer skills, we tackle more advanced software systems."

Faculty presentations range from assembling the computer system and installing software to developing outcomes database files for orthopaedic practices. Registrants also learn the basics about word processing software; personal finance and spread sheet software; on-line services; presentation graphics; and search and retrieval software.

"We provide the basics that orthopaedic surgeons will need to use for each software system so that when they get home, they will know how to apply them in their practices and personal life," said Dr. Lonstein.

William A. Ciszewski, MD, of Rochester, N.Y., taught himself how to use a computer a few years ago. Now, Dr. Ciszewski wants to learn more about how computers can make work easier for his staff and him. "I wanted to learn more about developing an outcomes database file for patient cases," he said. "This course enabled me to get started, and it answered many of the questions that I had about setting up the software system."

Another course registrant, Lesley J. Anderson, MD, of San Francisco, Calif., saw a lot of educational and practice management computer software at the Academy's Annual Meeting, and decided to purchase a computer for office and home study use.

"As the managing partner of an orthopaedic practice, I needed to know how different software systems could be adapted for our office use," said Dr. Anderson. "I decided that the computer boot camp course would be an ideal setting for me to learn the basics about how the various software systems work in a time-efficient way."

Many members of the faculty of "Orthopaedic Surgeon's Computer Boot Camp" are orthopaedic surgeons who already use computers in their practices. Experienced computer trainers also are present to provide technical support. "It is an unique situation where registrants receive guidance and advice from their colleagues," said Dr. Lonstein. "They leave the course knowing what they learned can actually be applied in their practices because the faculty already has done it."

To receive more information about "Orthopaedic Surgeon's Computer Boot Camp," contact the Academy's customer service department, (800) 626-6726.

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