Understanding Physician Networks: An Interview with G-Med
The healthcare sector has seen a gradual shift in focus more towards online and telemedicine services that offer a full patient experience. In the light of digital technology and social networks, a number of high-performing networks exclusive to physicians and medical professionals are now available globally. G-Med is one such high-performing network and is also the world’s largest community for physicians.
G-Med has over 120,000 physicians, from 50 countries and 60 specialties. The aim is to promote digital global collaboration between physicians in order to improve and shorten diagnostics, improve clinical trials, and increase knowledge and practice methods. Physicians can join G-Med for free and stay updated on the latest in medical research. In addition, physicians can easily connect and collaborate with fellow experts globally.
As part of our interview series on Connecting Scholarly Publishing Experts and Researchers, we had the opportunity to speak with Ilan Ben Ezri, CEO and co-founder of G-Med.
Could you share with our readers the inspiration behind launching G-Med? How did this journey begin? Who are the members of G-Med?
G-Med was established after a number of physicians who had initially collaborated in another venture with the company’s founding team sought to create a solution for professional international consultations between physicians from different parts of the world. Moreover, the increasing role of social networking and digital technology only made it imperative to find such a solution. Crowdsourcing has proven itself in many domains and the idea was to include it in the medical domain, and more specifically, the possibility of physicians collaborating online (both synchronous and asynchronous) and having peer-to-peer consultations with each other regardless of the geographical location. Today, G-Med is the largest global social network for physicians. We strive to challenge the way physicians communicate and cooperate with each other because we believe that this is the only way we can provide better medicine to patients.
What were some of the challenges faced while developing and launching the platform?
We need to remember that physicians, in general, are very conservative and may not always be the first to adopt new technology. We are currently dealing with market education for both physicians and business clients. The benefits of using the platform and the social cooperation among physicians from all over the world have to be reiterated to the physicians so that they can make the best of it.
Physicians will use digital tools in which they find value and that help them in their daily practice. This is our focus and the secret of success. We only provide solutions that really help physicians provide better medicine to their patients. For example, we have developed a system that enables the physician to communicate in real-time through a private virtual room to solve a patient’s case with another physician, using live video tools, imaging, laboratory tests, and simultaneous annotations. The consulting experts can also invite other physicians. This enables specific discussions about the medical case that crosses borders, thereby leading to quicker solutions.
In order to succeed in this business, one must be attentive and adapt the solutions to the needs of the physicians. So perhaps, we would not term these points as challenges but rather as points of development.
What are some of the benefits that G-Med offers physicians on its platform?
G-Med is the widest digital crowdsourcing network for physicians in the world. Through this network, physicians can meet and collaborate with other physicians, present and consult on patient cases with leading experts in the field—something they could not have reached otherwise—share their studies, discuss current medical news, and build their reputation. G-Med also allows physicians to stay updated with the latest research in their field through daily access to new papers in their relevant specialty that is uploaded on the platform. The knowledge accumulated in G-Med ushers a new era of medical care in which physicians interact with each other to provide better care and better practice.
For example, physicians generally have to solve clinical cases of patients on a daily basis, and each case receives suggestions from the other members within 48–72 hours of the case being updated on the network.
Furthermore, with the new collaboration we now have with Enago, we are able to also provide the physicians the ability to get quick professional manuscript editing and journal submission services. In this manner, G-Med acts as the medium in which physicians continue to collect their medical data (for example, a patient’s case details) and then Enago’s services allow them to get their findings published easily. This innovative suite of services makes G-Med a one-stop-shop for its members to promote themselves academically and professionally.
Your website mentions a term “Honoraria”? How can users on the platform earn honoraria and use them?
G-Med enables each physician to participate in scientific surveys and questionnaires and to share their professional experience. In return, they can avail of financial incentives and rewards. Physicians can also participate in online Medical Advisory Boards (MAB) and experts panels and are paid for their experience and knowledge.
In addition, we allow every physician to open an online clinic to provide telemedicine services through our proprietary live video system, thereby increasing their practice and patient contacts—all this at no cost. This telemedicine system is one of the leading and most advanced telemedicine systems in the world. It is fully white labeled and does not need any software download, which makes it very easy to access and operate. It also includes features like online scheduling; online payment; and live video meeting rooms that are specially tailored for medical meetings, presenting images, discussing lab results and medical documents, and exchanging meeting summary and prescriptions.
Can G-Med benefit physicians in regions like China, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan?
As G-Med is open to physicians worldwide and also supports multiple languages, practicing physicians from all over the world can join and consult each other. As the network aims to be accessible to physicians from over 50 different countries, publishing updates in English will maximize the exposure a case would have, especially when looking for advice or suggestions from other physicians. G-Med also offers the option of initiating specific private groups on request, to invite physicians from specific specialties or countries and allow physicians from different countries to discuss a topic in their native language.
What are the primary focus areas for G-Med in 2018-19?
In 2018–2019, we plan to start an online global multi-hospital collaboration dealing with the issues of Healthcare-Acquired Infections (HAI). This is a crucial topic that every healthcare facility deals with in isolation. We believe that opening a line of discussion between different hospitals will allow better management of this issue, more so by sharing different solutions implemented, tracking their effectiveness, and drawing conclusions.
This year we have also expanded the services we provide and are planning on engaging in new cross-country projects. One new service that we launched in May 2018 was the use of a social network platform for physicians in a scientific conference set-up. We have developed a new feature where each conference speaker has a personal area to engage with the conference participants, answer a question related to the session, and have detailed discussions on the G-Med platform before, during, and after the conference. The participants are also kept updated on any change or new information through live alerts.
What according to you are the challenges faced by physicians in publishing their papers in high-quality journals?
The foremost challenge for physicians is lack of time—to sit down and write a medical article in the middle of their hectic schedules. In addition, they have to find time to select the right journal for their article and ensure that they meet the journal format and submission requirements, all of which extend the time a physician needs to prepare and submit an article. Moreover, not all physicians in the world speak English as their first language, so that’s another limitation. This also leads to more challenges such as adhering to accurate use of grammar and punctuation conventions followed in the English language.
You recently collaborated with Enago for its editing services. According to you, what are the benefits of having access to such services?
Our collaboration with Enago enables physicians to not deal with the various challenges of journal formatting, grammar, correct writing, punctuations, and so on; they can simply focus on their clinical practice and research and approve the suggestions proposed by Enago based on their objectives. This process also makes it easier for them to build a successful academic profile in a short period of time.
For G-Med, it is important that physicians get real value in using the platform. Therefore, a comprehensive solution that enables physicians to present a case to their colleagues in order to collect data and then be able to publish their findings using Enago’s editing and journal submission services is the ideal and most effective solution.
It was a great pleasure to talk to Ilan Ben Ezri. We sincerely thank him for taking the time to be a part of this interview and also wish the G-Med team all the very best in their future endeavors!
(This interview is a part of our interview series of Connecting Scholarly Publishing Experts and Researchers.)