One of the charges of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand is to deliver high quality education, not only to its members, but also to the public. We do this by providing hand and upper extremity content, which is written and edited by its members through the ASSH Public Education Committee. The ASSH Central Office helps organize and produce the content in a digestible format for the user. Currently, brochures are available in printed format, online, and via downloadable PDFs.
A recent plan in the development phase now is to build an App, initially for Apple iPads. It will be for the public, patients and surgeons to use. The home page will look like a bookshelf of hand surgery topics, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger digit, Dupuytren’s, etc. The user can tap on the topic, and the full color brochure will appear. The surgeon can use this during an office visit and write on the brochure to highlight certain points and draw additional sketches. This brochure with the newly written notes can then be emailed to the patient or printed for them before they leave the office.
Other areas the committee is working on are translating the content to video format. We will be starting with a few topics per year. More patients, especially from the younger generation, prefer to have video as part of the content. We are therefore striving to deliver our content in multiple media formats. Another new area that we are moving into is the use of QR codes to help direct our patients to ASSH content. Led by Public Education Committee member, Aaron Daluiski, we will offer a downloadable PDF sheet with QR codes of the most common hand surgery topics. Patients will be able to point their smart devices at the QR codes and the particular ASSH brochure will appear.
Of course, our editing of existing brochures continues on an every 3 year cycle. Occasionally we get good feedback from hand society members about how to improve particular brochures, and we appreciate this. We also strive to make the content readable for our audience; our committee members are instructed to check readability level for all edited brochures. We have a lot of new issues we are working on and looking forward to a productive 2013!