In her own words, Dr Anabel Salazar, fertility expert in Spain, "didn't know who Steve Jobs was until he died." But her participation less than a year later at Doctors 2.0 & You in Paris, inspired her to initiate the development of her clinic's own fertility app. Anabel will be presenting the app's first results in May 2016, at the 6th edition of Doctors 2.0 & You. She kindly answered my questions.
Q1. Tell us about yourself. How did you choose to become a fertility specialist, and what is your daily life like working in a clinic in Spain?
I have the best job in the world, helping couples that struggle with infertility to fulfill their dream of parenthood. During the last year of my training as a specialist in gynecology and obstetrics I had the opportunity to visit one of the IVI clinics in Spain. That day I decided that I would work with this group and become a specialist in reproductive medicine. I started here in 2007. and have worked in different clinics in Alicante, Seville, and Madrid.
Since 2013, I have also been part of the new clinic in Málaga as both a gynaecologist and medical director. Currently I combine my work in the office and surgical procedures with patients, with management tasks such as team organization, scientific projects and training courses for doctors, nurses and patients in reproductive medicine.
Q2. How computerized and digitally oriented is the clinic in which you work? Can the patient’s file be shared electronically outside the clinic with the patient, with other professionals?
One of the things I liked the most when I first met this organization was the electronic medical records system, which is the same for the whole group, and the clinics are all connected. There is constant collaboration between the systems team, physician management, and the quality department. We are always developing new tools and applications that we try to make as useful as possible for all the staff. The program we have today is not the same one we had a year ago. And the whole team is changing it together, inputting the opinions and experience from the biologists, doctors, nurses, receptionists, and of course, the patients.
In January 2016, we launched our patient portal and its app. Some parts of the medical records can be seen by patients on their devices. This is going to be changing based on the feedback we’ll be getting from patients and staff. We have also launched another app for external physicians sending patients to the clinic, so that they can follow up on the procedure and have updated information about their patients’ pathway at all times.
Last but not least, we have our medical team app, Conecto, where we share protocols, scientific papers; it is like a Facebook for the specialist to share knowledge.
Q3 You are not a geek ;-), but can you tell us which apps you use most personally and professionally?
For work, I use our medical knowledge platform (Conecto) and the apps from the top scientific journals in fertility. Personally, my favorites apps are the social media ones (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, Spotify) and I use them on my iPhone.
Q4 Do you use social media professionally? Do some of your patients find you thanks to social media?
It’s 50-50, professional and personal. On Twitter, I share info about fertility issues, but also about running or swimming. On Facebook, I am more private, only for family and friends. Some patients find me on Twitter and ask me questions. When this happens, I try to help them, but it is not my main goal for being on social media.
I think doctors should be out on social media to give trustworthy information about medical conditions. It is an educational responsibility. Without us, the information won't be validated or as relevant.
Anyone can Google to learn about a medical problem, a chronic disease or an infertility treatment, but patients appreciate it when we doctors take the time to send correct messages to the general population, and social media gives us the easiest and cheapest way of working on this.
Q5. You came to Doctors 2.0 & You a few years ago. What made you want to attend the first time?
When Steve Jobs died on 2011, I even didn’t know exactly who he was. Can you believe it? My cell phone at that time had no internet connection. I only used it for messages, talking and taking photos. Then my husband thought it was time for me to have an iPhone, and my life changed.
I started to learn about social media, and I discovered Twitter. At first I only read tweets and followed some profiles. Then I thought that maybe doctors were also on twitter and I found some who were very active. So I started to follow them, and I learned about this congress and I experienced for the first time in 2012 at Doctors 2.0 & You how great it is to meet someone in person that you have met before on Twitter. It was amazing.
Q6 And at Doctors 2.0 & You, you got the idea of doing an app for your fertility patients, correct? Why/how did this idea come to you?
When I attended Doctors 2.0 in 2012, I learnt a lot of experience from colleagues and patients working together on diabetes, chronic diseases, pediatric conditions. I started to think that developing an app to share medical instructions, information, records with the patients during their fertility treatment would help us in our daily work. We would be able to engage with the patient’s personal situation.
Our organization had been thinking about this for some time. Our core mission is to lead reproductive medicine, and innovation through digital health is part of leading medicine nowadays. We want to be part of this history and lead reproductive medicine 2.0.
Q7. You are looking forward to returning to the 6th edition in May, 2016. Please give us a teaser about what you might discuss in Paris, during your talk.
We will discuss about how the new patient-doctor relationship should be managed. New platforms are coming, but doctors do not have enough training yet for this kind of new relation.
Meet Dr Anabel Salazar at the 6th Edition of Doctors 2.0 & You, May 26-27, 2016 in Paris, France, at the lovely Cité Universitaire, the only university campus in Paris proper. Register on Doctors 2.0 & You.
Interview directed by Denise Silber