As social media and digital multimedia continues to become a greater part of our lives and daily communication each day, medical professionals too are converting to online venues as primary means for distributing medical information.
From the #FOAMed meducation movement on Twitter, to mobile apps built around strengthening patient-physician relationships, to Snapchat’s video features which can doctors use to easily document their medical procedures and display for millions of people to see, the medical field's use for digitial communication is truly endless.
The video-sharing platform GIBLIB, whose title combines surgeon and inventor Dr. John Heysham Gibbon’s last name, along with the techie shorthand for library, “lib”, has taken visual education and information-sharing amongst the medical community to a whole new level.
I wanted to create a platform 100% devoted to the surgical community.
Like Youtube, GIBLIB allows users to upload and share original video content. What makes GIBLIB unique is that they only allow the uploading of high-quality surgical videos, and the majority of shared content is reserved solely for the medical community. They accomplish this through their registration process, which includes a thorough yet simple vetting process to ensure that members are indeed surgeons, medical students, surgical residents and surgical fellows. This limited membership is purposeful, as it maintains a focused and highly technical level of discourse on the site.
According to GIBLIB founder and CEO Brian Conyer, “I wanted to create a platform for surgeons to easily share videos with other surgeons everywhere. I wanted to create a space where the surgical community could collaborate and share information on the most innovative procedures. Lastly, I wanted to create a platform 100% devoted to the surgical community.”
Tightening registration requirements and limiting access to only those in the medical community allows GIBLIB to ensure high standards and quality content in a space where professionals and students can interact, educate and share their passion unobstructed.
What everyone, both medical experts and laypeople alike, does have access to is by far GIBLIB's most innovative and exciting feature: its livestream surgeries, which incorporate 360 degree virtual reality technology.
GIBLIB Live brings 360-degree access to a surgical operating room right onto your smartphone
GIBLIB’s head of growth, Jeff Loo, explains, “GIBLIB Live is a smartphone app that livestreams operations in 360-degrees - so people watching can navigate to see the entire operating theater and ask questions.”
Unlike most surgery videos online, which focus solely on what’s happening inside the patient, GIBLIB Live allows viewers to experience everything going on inside the operating room, from the patient, to the different instruments being used, to the interactions between staff.
What’s more, the experience becomes truly interactive for the viewers by allowing them to type in comments and questions via the app, which the operating surgeons can verbally respond to in real time.
The technology is highly beneficial for practicing surgeons, who can observe the performance of another expert in their field.
A video-streaming technology that can bring surgical education to thousands
It’s also a great educational tool for students, who make up more than 20 percent of GIBLIB’s user base. The livestreams break down the barriers of access to otherwise highly restricted operating rooms, and allow students to get the closest thing to a first-hand experience in exploring medical fields they might be interested in.
GIBLIB’s first livestream, which aired on July 28, was of a bilateral hernia operation performed by Dr. Shirin Towfigh of the Beverly Hills Hernia Center.. The livestream was viewed by medical professionals around the world, from South America, to the UK, to the Middle East, and has since sparked interest amongst surgeons in fields from neurosurgery to colorectal surgery, in scheduling their own livestreams.
“The magnitude of what the company is trying to accomplish is global,” says Jeff Loo. “GIBLIB’s goal is to use emerging technologies to improve surgical education across the world.”
Part of this global impact involves making information and education as accessible as possible for the medical community, especially in developing countries, where new medical information is often limited and costly to attain.
GIBLIB is making an effort not just to provide informational content, but to assist medical experts in making that content as well.
“For surgeons, sometimes getting videos of their work online is their biggest hurdle,” says Loo, "even if they want to showcase to the world, they might not know how to do so or they might not have the tools they need.”
GIBLIB has reached out to Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) and has partnered with organizations like USC Keck School of Medicine in order to consistently put out high quality content, as opposed to merely letting it happen organically.
GIBLIB’s next livestream just took place in Mongolia last Tuesday, with a medical team from the University of Utah led by world-renowned surgical pioneer, Dr. Raymond Price completing a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. This procedure was accomplished using a low-cost laparascope, the "Xenoscope" from Xenocor, an innovative new medical instrument that is affordable for low-income countries, where there are an estimated 18 million deaths a year from burst appendixes, diseased gallbladders, tumors, traumas and other treatable conditions.
GIBLIB - both the company's technology and its livestream mission - effectively knits together the power of innovation and medical education, and the company’s plans for the future look bright. According to the company’s website, “GIBLIB is a small piece in a complex solution to the problem of safe, affordable surgery for all.” Even if it is merely a “small piece,” it is clear that GIBLIB is more than capable of making quite a big impact in the field of medicine.
View pictures from the GIBLIB Live procedure from Mongolia below, or rewatch the livestream at this link.
Aptly named, Enclothed Cognition is the official Medelita blog for medical professionals interested in topics relevant to a discerning and inquisitive audience. Medelita was founded by a licensed clinician who felt strongly about the connection between focus, poise and appearance.