New Society - ISIGO

Article Conference CoverageFrom the ESHRE 2001 Conference - Lausanne, Switzerland

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Dr. Hans van der Slikke: "It's July 2, 2001 and we're at ESHRE in Lausanne. Next to me is David Bloomer, the publisher of Parthenon."

David Bloomer: "Hello, Hans."

Dr. Hans van der Slikke: "Good morning, David, and on the other side is Hugo Verhoeven who's a gynecologist in Germany."

Dr. Hugo Verhoeven: "Good morning, Hans."

Dr. Hans van der Slikke: "Good morning, Hugo. We're talking this morning about the new society ISIGO - the International Society for the Use of the Internet in Gynecology and Obstetrics. Spreading the literature and medical information via the Internet has certain advantages, not only for the western countries but also for other countries. Can you tell us something about this, Hugo?"

Dr. Hugo Verhoeven: "The problem is that even if we have extensive information available in the literature many people do not have the time or the possibility to see what is available. I think the Internet is an excellent possibility for worldwide access to the things that really interest you. That means via the Internet it is possible to make a quick selection of those topics you're interested in, to select them, to read the abstracts, and to say - this I want to load down and not that. So it is an excellent possibility for me to have a very quick overview of everything that is available in my field. This would also be possible for people in the third worlds who don't have access to all literature and to all the journals to inform themselves and to come on a higher standard of medical treatment."

Dr. Hans van der Slikke: "Talking about this literature, David, several times you were in developing countries' libraries?"

David Bloomer: "Yes, Hans, and I'm very interested in ISIGO because it seems to me the society offers something which hasn't been offered to gynecologists before or, indeed, in most other branches of medicine. It provides an opportunity for really effective distance learning when people want to learn wherever they are regardless of the geography, regardless of the time, and it offers quite a wide scope for supporting literature documentation and material. That's why we got together with ISIGO because it happens to coincide with the introduction of our major new journal - Contemporary Clinical Gynecology and Obstetrics, and the concept of this new journal is unique. It is predicated on the recognition that continuing medical education is of increasing importance and is more and more regarded as a vital part of the daily professional activity of any medical specialty but particularly, perhaps, in the fields of gynecology and obstetrics. So the new journal is actually designed to do something, which no other publication does, in which it fits in very well with the whole concept of an Internet society. The journal actually could be regarded as a continuous contemporary textbook of the field. World experts from all over the world contribute to the journal and over the course of a four-year period it covers the whole of obstetrics and gynecology just like you would imagine a really advanced textbook would do. At the same time, it offers a range of other options, which an ordinary textbook can't possibly do:
First of all, of course, it's always contemporary. 

Secondly, it's presented in a way which is colorful and which is designed to achieve effective learning and, thirdly, and especially importantly, it offers both CME accreditation and self-assessment. This is really where the society comes into play because all around the world people who are wanting to validate for either their own self-assessment or to document their CME applications will be able to do so via the Internet. Furthermore, via the Internet they will be able to access more information then you would in any one published source. This means that for the society and for the journal there is a natural interaction, which we think will be very effective and make a big impact not just in the United States or in Europe but many other parts of the world as well."

Dr. Hans van der Slikke: "You think that the hard copy of the journal could be helped by a lot of software and also publishing via the Internet?"

David Bloomer: "I think there's a natural synergy. The paper journal provides a very valuable survey and text for the field but more and more in any form of education but particularly in advanced areas like this, multimedia support makes a vast difference to the effectiveness of being able to learn. The interactivity that the Internet offers adds an element which heretofore has been unavailable, and as a result, it's certainly in my view true to say that this is a unique departure in medical education and one which I think will pioneer the way for similar concepts in other fields of medicine over and above gynecology and obstetrics."

Dr. Hans van der Slikke: "Thank you, David. Looking at the Editorial Board of this journal we see one of them is Jack Sciarra who happens to be the first President of ISIGO. Can you tell me some more about the new society's board?"

Dr. Hugo Verhoeven: "Let me first add some more to what we heard before. The literature on certain topics is so overwhelming that even in my field of reproductive endocrinology it is no longer possible to read or to get all the journals by mail and read them or take them with you on a plane. It's really too much and the nice thing about the Internet is you can now have an overview, not of a certain journal but on all journals on a certain topic. You can really check what you're interested in, select the things you want to know, have a quick overview, and then take that with you, for instance, on a plane and read it there. That for me is the very nice thing about the Internet that it makes it possible to get informed on a certain topic in a very small amount of time and very extensively. That's not only my problem, that is the problem for everyone in the world who is very busy but wants to be at the state of the art and wants to be up-to-date. We need now what is in the journal today, we want to read it tomorrow and not in 3-4 months, and that's the advantage."

Dr. Hans van der Slikke: "The other one is that you can fill out the forms, the CME credit, and you can have them online. At the moment, it's only the University of Chicago, isn't it?"

David Bloomer: "The CME accreditation is with the University of Chicago but in addition to that there's also a wide range of self-assessment for every element of the journal. So a physician using the journal, whether it's Rio de Janeiro, Berlin, or Montreal, can validate that self-assessment via the Internet. As Hugo rightly says, it's not only a wide literature which you want access to but there are other things as well, perhaps, even film clips, scans, etc. which can make a great deal of difference to one's ability to grasp a topic and which can be offered as part of the interactive learning process over the Internet in a way which cannot be offered in any normal conventional circumstance."

Dr. Hans van der Slikke: "Thank you, now back to the Board." 

Dr. Hugo Verhoeven: "The Board that has been proposed for next year is composed of the President - Jack Sciarra from Northwestern University in Chicago. He's Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is known worldwide. 

For Vice-President, Lillo Mettler from the University of Kiel has been selected. Lillo is also a person who is known worldwide for her engagements in education of training worldwide. 

Zeev Shoham is from Israel and he will be the President-Elect of the society. Zeev is working in Rehovot in Israel, and he is Professor at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 

You will be the Secretary General, and I was nominated to be the Treasurer. 

As you know, I'm very involved with I'm a member of the Editorial Board so I think it's a good addition to what I am doing now by being involved in this society. Also, I'm really looking forward to it because I think it's a good thing, and we'll see in one or two years whether my opinion was correct. We'll have our first meeting in addition to the meeting in Paris."

Dr. Hans van der Slikke: "That's on Controversies in Obstetrics and Gynecology in September of 2001."

Dr. Hugo Verhoeven: "Then we'll start planning and organizing the future."

Dr. Hans van der Slikke: "I think maybe most importantly is, of course, we'll use as our network where we already have one million visitors each month. I'm sure this will continue the proper use of the Internet for better health not only in our western countries but also in developing countries. Hugo and David, thank you both very much for this first launching interview."


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