Dr. Andrew Tagg is an emergency physician with a special interest in education and lifelong learning. He’s the co-founder and website lead for Don’t Forget The Bubbles. With over 150 authors and more than 1,000 blog posts, this community has become an amazing resource for medical professionals all around the world, both for its content and its support for healthcare workers’ wellbeing.
In this episode of the Participate podcast, hosts Mike Washburn and Dr. Julie Keane talk with Tagg about how medical professionals leverage Communities of Practice (CoPs) for online connection and the importance of physician mental health. His community mindset and innovative approach to gathering and sharing knowledge is groundbreaking and inspiring.
A shared desire to learn
Andrew's first experience with a CoP was in 2013, when a small group of junior doctors wanted to combine notes to study for exams. They created a website to build a geographically broad community and share information more efficiently. In reaching out to content experts, the community expanded to include all levels of healthcare providers, with smaller “bubbles'' formed around function, roles and special interests. From there, the community grew into an organization and collaboration space for research and information gathering, titled Don’t Forget the Bubbles (DFTB). DFTB became a significant source of up-to-date information in the medical field and has proven essential in learning about COVID-19. Click here to access some of their groundbreaking, crowdsourced research.
Amassing a large database of information to advance medicine is only part of what DFTB has accomplished since 2013. A few years ago, the organization began offering conferences and seminars to bring together community members and encourage connection around physician mental health.
Tagg shares that people in healthcare uniquely experience significant trauma and need to have a place to be heard and receive support. Virtual communities and previous in-person conferences provide an opportunity for everyone to be heard and have that voice.
Recording of a 2017 conference presentation by Dr. Andrew Tagg titled “The road not taken”
Quality content, diverse platform use and expert inclusion
Through collaboration and engagement, the DFTB CoP has been able to create a suite of crowdsourced educational modules and engage members in increased community connection. With more physicians providing their unique perspectives and knowledge in the creation process, overall clinician time spent working on articles decreased and time for community connections increased. To foster this collaboration, DFTB leverages various platforms to connect and meet their needs. Teams quickly turn out reports, articles and resources to meet the demands of the 24-hour news cycle.
DFTB also creates curriculum maps to determine content gaps and ask the community to help provide knowledge in those areas. Through sharing voices across the community, DFTB creates actionable, new knowledge to enhance the medical field and provides a space for authentic connection.