Saturday, June 19, 2010

How do you use online tools for collaborative teamwork?

I am attending a conference called "Breathing new life" in a couple of weeks. This conference is aimed at midwives and obstetricians, with the theme of the conference being 'working together, learning from each other'. The conference program says:

"Our shared vision for this conference is that interprofessional learning opportunities will result in a new shared culture of care in the future where the woman is at the centre and mutual understanding, trust and effective collaboration become the cornerstones of best care."

My presentations
I am giving a couple of presentations. One presentation is about how I see Second Life as a conduit for inter-professional collaboration and especially team development.

Collaborative teamwork
My other presentation (which I am asking help for) is called "How to use online tools for collaborative teamwork". Here is the abstract:

The aim of this conference is to encourage midwives and obstetricians to work together in collaborative teams but there are a number of barriers to effective team work in maternity services. Heavy workloads and lack of staff produce time constraints. Geographical location inhibits face-to-face meetings, especially for rural and remote practitioners. Funding for time release, back-fill, flights and accommodation create further hindrances to development of state-wide and national teams. In this age of financial retrenchment, health professionals are advised to think about how they can function as ‘online teams’ using Internet tools for communication and collaboration, sharing information and project development. Using free online tools reduces costs of teamwork, encourages flexibility of time and place, which in turn supports the team’s sustainability. Online communication tools also provides the team with opportunities to develop into communities of practice that deal with a wider range of issues within the maternity services with an open membership that includes other staff, professionals and healthcare consumers. This presentation aims to discuss how free online tools such as blogs, wiki, Google Documents, Skype and DimDim supports teamwork by enabling discussion of ideas, development of collaborative documents, and communication via web conferencing.

Would love to hear from you if you are a health professional, especially midwife, obstetrician or paediatrician

What I would really appreciate is a quick comment here about how you use any online tool for communication and collaboration, virtual team work or project management. I would especially like to hear from health professionals with examples from health. I would also like thoughts on how health consumers can be added into the mix ie how can health professionals collaborate with consumers online.

Leave a comment
I would very much like to hear from midwives, obstetricians and paediatricians and any other health profession involved in the maternity sector so I can show how I have used this blog for collaboration. So please feel free to leave a comment or contact me on Twitter or Facebook.

Make a very short video
The other thing that would be fabulous is if you were able to make a short video I could embed into my presentation about how you use online tools. It need be no more than a minute, and a smallish file so we can handle it via email etc.

Look forward to hearing from you :)

Image: 'Working Together Teamwork Puzzle Concept' lumaxart


DrV said...

I am using Google Wave with other physicians on collaborative documents. Downside here in the states is that it isn't HIPAA compliant. Works nicely. Evolving physician networks such as iMedExchange will make it easier to collaborate on cases.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thanks for that, DrV. I have to admit I haven't really looked at Google Wave. What are its advantages over something like a wiki or Google Docs? And, what do you see as the downside of online collaboration?

BTW, what does HIPAA mean?

(And, for those who are interested, here is where you find iMedExchange:

ohsuneuro said...

Hello, I'm in neurology at OHSU. I have been using Adobe Connect in our medical student rotation to allow students in remote sites to log into the lectures. I've also been using Twitter to meet and interact with people from all over. We're using this to record our journal clubs as well at the Parkinson's Center here, and sending the file in flash format to several people in our region who would like to attend, but live far away. I've had a bunch of issues with the audio breaking up which we're still trying to get around. HIPAA is a big hurdle for a lot of these types of meetings as we have to gaurantee that there will not be any protected patient information shared.

A nice example of a discussion group/wiki is the Michael J Fox site for Parkinson's research

The American Academy of Neurology is trying to set up something similar on their website, but it is still in its early stages. You need a login to be able to get on to it.

We've also started using a posterous account for our curriculum committee to continue to discuss things in between meetings.

Ms Fish said...

Hi Sarah...
not a midwive... but an FNP, so I hope you won't boot me off :)

Clinician 1 is an online community for networking / collaboration with NPs and PA's similar to Sermo for MDs. Skype is a wonderful communication tool for a small group.
Dropbox is awesome for sharing documents in the cloud. There are web-sites like American Well which facilitate conversations between provider / pts. Johnson & Johson just launched their diabetes institute for both providers and patients.

Hope that gives you some ideas. Good luck with your presentation.

Jenni, FNP-BC

Ms Fish said...

sorry.... I do know how to spell midwife :)

Carolyn Hastie said...

Hi Sarah, some great suggestions here already! The midwifery course I'm teaching has an online asynchronous classroom format where students post discussion items that others can comment on and expand upon. That means students can live in any area and contribute and we have masters students all over Australia. Secondly, in writing Birth Territory and Midwifery Guardianship, Kathleen, Maralyn and I communicated, wrote and edited through email. I can see the value of using Google Docs and Wikis to do that now (thanks to you). The health service and the University use video conferencing for a lot of meetings and collaborative work as the area is huge and to come to a meeting or planning activity in person, large distances have to be traveled, so the online medium has many advantages. I also use Skype with a camera for research supervision with students in overseas countries. I really liked the Elluminate meeting room experience with the Virtual International Day of the Midwife and my mind just buzzes with the possibilities that kind of online tool provides. I'm sure there is more, that's just off the top of my head. warmly, Carolyn

Sarah Stewart said...

Hello everyone, thank you all very much for your contributions. I will include them in my presentation next week. I'll let you know how I get on when I get home again.

Anders Hansen said...

Hello Sarah!
Can I use the photo of the 4 persons holding the puzzle in my school project, about teamwork?

Kind regards Anders (From Denmark)
(pleace reply me at

Anders Hansen said...

Hello Sarah!
Can I use the photo of the 4 persons holding the puzzle in my school project, about teamwork?

Kind regards Anders (From Denmark)
(pleace reply me at