Dr. Jeff SchaeferDr. Kelly ZarnkeThe COVID-19 pandemic has been thrust upon us and many activities have been pushed aside as we prepare for what may come. I must admit to having had some uncertainty of purpose until Kelly Zarnke shared ‘Flatten the Curve’ with me. The internet offers variations of this graphic. Perhaps most compelling is that from Flowing Data which includes the quality of patient care that can be achieved with and without early containment measures.

Aside from providing a crystal-clear rationale as to why it matters that we screen, use PPE, and self-isolate, the Flatten the Curve graphic also reinforced to me the need to be thoughtful about everything we do. What is the objective? And of the many paths to getting there, which is most efficient, effective, and safe? Too often we fall into the habit of being habitual. We do things because “it’s always been done that way”.

Education can be guilty of the habitual. We’ve all been to lectures where the speaker finishes when it’s time to leave. I’m guilty having given some of them. Not much time for questions or debate. And if anything was accomplished, it was the emails because only a few points would have impact on behaviour. I rather like presentations where the speaker begins at the end, “These are the three take home messages!” I sometimes wonder what would happen if that was followed by, “please take them now, we’re done!” While there are advantages to passive learning, they are few and perhaps it is time to replace lectures with webinars or Youtube-style videos. I’ve had some encouraging discussions about that recently and would love to setup a medical studio to that end. I found some interesting literature on this subject.

Wash your hands, for your health and to flatten the curve.