Leaders in Medical Education

Dr. Joyce Lee, Co-Director Program in Mobile Technology for Enhancing Child Health

Thasin Jaigirdar
Sep 19, 2014

Dr. Joyce Lee is a pediatrician at the University of Michigan. She is a diabetes specialist as well has a health services researcher. She is an avid user of social media and has her own website, joyceisplayingontheinter.net. She interested in how to use mobile technologies in healthcare and we were thrilled to speak with Dr. Lee about her interests.


How did you decide on a career in medicine and specialize in Pediatrics?

My father was a pediatrician, my sister was a pediatrician, so maybe it was my destiny to become a pediatrician. I have always been drawn to kids and I had the exposure to the field because of my father.

As co-director of Program in Mobile Technology for Enhancing Child Health, what do you believe is the future of mobile technologies in medicine?

One technology I am very passionate about is social media. I am a huge advocate of social media use for medical professionals. (#shamlessplug Follow me on twitter! https://twitter.com/joyclee). Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in the medical world (faculty, administrators, staff), who are very worried, scared, and skeptical about the role of social media in medicine. But it is one of the most interesting technologies because it links you to a large networked world. It is a fantastic way for young people to learn from a much wider and diverse group of medical professionals and most importantly patients. Physicians need to learn from patients’ insights, expertise, and experience, and social media is the place where the patient to patient and patient to provider conversations are happening. We must integrate social media into our medical education system; otherwise medicine will continue to be positively prehistoric. If you are curious, you should check out my slides for more information (http://www.slideshare.net/joyclee/social-media-and-physicians-revised-9513-a) and you can also look at these resources on social media that I am curating (http://joyceisplayingontheinter.net/andcurating.html#socialmedia).

How do you see technology being integrated into medical education?

There have been many benefits from using social media, one being that it has enhanced my ability to learn. I follow people which such diverse interests (designers, data visualization experts, journalists) that they are not people that I would ever have contact with between the walls of my work place. I think that there is so much to learn from people who have a completely different perspective, training, and experience than yours. Therefore, it has been an effective tool for enhancing my knowledge as a physician and also as a researcher. Two, it has been an enormously useful for following trends in mobile technology and data visualization, which are specific areas of research of great interest to me. You cannot go to PubMed and find the most recent tools, resources or information about mobile technology or data visualizations. The most recent journal publication that comes out today was written about a year and a half ago because it was trapped in the peer review process. The only place to find real time information about the latest applications of technology for health is in a network like Twitter. Three, I have had a lot of fantastic opportunities to network and meet interesting people. I was invited to speak at a design conference in 2013 (A doctor? At a design conference?) because of Twitter. It has even facilitated my ability to meet people here at the University of Michigan. We all live in these little silos, and medicine is a very hierarchical culture. However with social media, I have been able to break down some of those barriers which has enhanced my ability to learn and connect with a local and virtual community.
You have your own website joyceisplayingontheinter.net and are an avid user of social media. What is the greatest benefit you have seen from using social media?

There have been many benefits from using social media, one being that it has enhanced my ability to learn. I follow people which such diverse interests (designers, data visualization experts, journalists) that they are not people that I would ever have contact with between the walls of my work place. I think that there is so much to learn from people who have a completely different perspective, training, and experience than yours. Therefore, it has been an effective tool for enhancing my knowledge as a physician and also as a researcher. Two, it has been an enormously useful for following trends in mobile technology and data visualization, which are specific areas of research of great interest to me. You cannot go to PubMed and find the most recent tools, resources or information about mobile technology or data visualizations. The most recent journal publication that comes out today was written about a year and a half ago because it was trapped in the peer review process. The only place to find real time information about the latest applications of technology for health is in a network like Twitter. Three, I have had a lot of fantastic opportunities to network and meet interesting people. I was invited to speak at a design conference in 2013 (A doctor? At a design conference?) because of Twitter. It has even facilitated my ability to meet people here at the University of Michigan. We all live in these little silos, and medicine is a very hierarchical culture. However with social media, I have been able to break down some of those barriers which has enhanced my ability to learn and connect with a local and virtual community.

What do you think are the biggest challenges medical students face today?

Medical school has a very strict and rigid curriculum focused on rote learning and clinical rotations. Students typically don’t have much flexibility to explore other means of learning, which are missed opportunities. For example, we are living in a new age where people can become physicians but also writers, technology specialists, and entrepreneurs. How can we be more creative with the training and career paths of young physicians?

Cover Photo Credits: Photo by Daryl Marshke, Michigan Photography