Archive for “November, 2013”

Interview with Thomas Morscher in Orthopedics Today, November 2013

Thomas Morscher

The following interview has been conducted by Orrin Franko, MD from UC San Diego, and Matthew di Paola, MD and assistant professor from Wright State University.


Orthopedic surgeons and trainees who keep up to date with the literature should love our featured app this month, Insights Orthopedics.

Released in December 2012 by Medical Insights, this app is a literature and news aggregation platform that organizes the most recent and relevant orthopedic information. The app is free and available for iPad and iPad mini.
Highlights of this app include its visually impressive interface that is easy to read and use. After the initial log in, users can select a subspecialty or search topics that will then present the most relevant collection of journals, videos, articles, podcasts, images and clinical trials. In many cases, full text is provided. Other times, only an abstract and link to the full article is given. Either way, the app makes it easy to scan the literature and save documents or videos for off-line browsing or sharing via Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. The app also includes features such as an expanding list of journal clubs from various organizations and universities that have selected relevant articles. The search tool is also handy for quickly narrowing down the content to a specific topic or specialty.

This month, we interviewed Thomas Morscher, the founder and developer of Insights Orthopedics.

Matthew DiPaola, MD; Orrin I. Franko, MD: Please share about your background and interest in developing this app.

Thomas Morscher: Being the son of an orthopedic surgeon, Prof. Erwin W. Morscher, I saw how important it was for him to read medical journals and to travel around the world to stay connected and in-tune with the growing global medical community. Having experienced the importance of medical education, and having access to today’s information technologies, I also recognized the need of health care professionals to access independent and unbiased medical information to stay-up-to-date at a specialty-specific level.

My previous companies have always been interested in all facets of the generation, dissemination and consumption of knowledge. With a focus on the life sciences and the medical device industry, I have worked closely with clinicians, researchers and surgeons for many years, thereby learning about their needs and observing their approaches to training and education.

When the mobile revolution reached the medical field, it became obvious to launch a mobile, open and multi-stakeholder platform for health care professionals that could address their needs in new ways. The increasing popularity of tablet computers among doctors and the growing success of magazine-like reading apps, such as Flipboard and Pulse, added to our motivation to spin off a new venture, Medical Insights Inc. (

DiPaola and Franko: When did you and your team first conceive of the Insights Orthopedics app?

Morscher: Based on previous successful medical content aggregation services for the web, such as, the conceptualization and development of our app started in early 2012 with the first version launched by year end.

DiPaola and Franko: What has been your primary focus for the app?

Morscher: At Medical Insights, our vision is to radically transform how health care professionals access and consume medical knowledge. As a high-quality content integrator and aggregator, we aim at giving our users a sense of relief by presenting them only with the most relevant and current information in their specialty with the utmost convenience: everything in one place.

DiPaola and Franko: What has been the biggest challenge in the development and release of the app?

Morscher: We had gone, and keep going, through numerous iterations on the features, design and user interface of the app as we take both a user-centered and a design-driven approach to our app development. Also, the initial architectural decision — native or hybrid — was not taken lightly. We are happy to have taken the hybrid route as it gives us a lot of flexibility, including the migration toward other platforms.

DiPaola and Franko: How do you see Medical Insights leading the way into mobile education?

Morscher: Our commitment to mobility and convenience for knowledge access goes beyond the technical dimension and touches on the fundamentals of professional training and education. As an open platform and service, we welcome and include all partners, means and information to give the surgeons of the future a more complete picture of what is happening in their specialties and that can hopefully allow them to advance patient benefits and health care systems to the best of their abilities, knowledge and experiences.

DiPaola and Franko: Please share about future features you have planned or expected updates.

Morscher: Orthopedics and its subspecialties, is the beginning of a series of medical disciplines Medical Insights will cover. In 2014, Insights Cardiology will be launched, and will be followed by oncology-hematology and other main specialties.

In terms of app functionality, there will be a number of new features released later this year and in early 2014. In particular, we aim for deeper social interaction and networking and more full-text access to information as well as for extending our services to other platforms.

For the original article, please go to the November Issue of Orthopedics Today.

Meet Prof. Regazzoni

Pietro Regazzoni

Prof. Dr. med. Pietro Regazzoni is a trauma surgeon who is well known for his innovations in the field of orthopedic trauma. He completed his medical studies in 1969 at the University of Basel in Switzerland. He become a board-certified surgeon and finally Head of Trauma Surgery at the University Hospital in Basel. After a long-lasting activity within the AO Foundation, Prof. Regazzoni has become an Honorary Member of the Foundation.

Together with Alberto Fernandez (Chief of the Orthopedic Department at the British Hospital in Montevideo and honorary member of the Spanish Orthopedic Society) and Stephan Perren (former Director of the AO Research Center and one of the Founders of the AO Foundation), he is editor-in-chief of ICUC an innovative group trying to offer a disruptively new “learning tool” .

1. You have been engaged in teaching/learning for so long now. Describe shortly how accessing medical and educational information now and then has changed.

I started my professional education at the University of Basel in the 1962, so I was part of the “index medicus generation”! The way to access and assimilate medical information was cumbersome. It involved going to libraries, searching for articles in the stacks, and reading them in the library. Before the widespread introduction of photocopying machines, the information you wanted had to be copied by hand into (paper) notebooks for later reading!

From this perspective, over the years, huge progress has been made. In contrast, though, the pace of innovation within the medical profession coupled with the amount of information available to the healthcare professional has skyrocketed making it almost impossible to stay up to date. You need to spend “many days a day” trying to keep informed.

So the real problem now is no longer accessing information, but understanding what information to access and when. It’s about being able to sift through the overabundance of data and information “to get to the information that really fits your needs” and that you can use “at your pace, when and where you want”.

2. Approximately one million scientific articles are published every year! How do you deal with this complexity?

The capacity to focus, filter and summarize is a fundamental competence you need to build throughout your career. Learning how to research and knowing how to get to the right resources is key.

3. Tell me a little more about your medical news reading behavior?

I keep up to date in various ways. Of course I stay up to date by both online and offline versions of journals. What I also find valuable are summary articles from trusted sources. But, by far, the most relevant sources for me are the contacts I have built throughout my professional career. So meeting and discussing with them on a regular basis during different scientific events and other types of meetings is for me invaluable.

4. How will medical information and education change in the future?

Important changes can be expected in the field of “continuous learning”. Platforms or services like yours, Insights Orthopedics, are really indispensable to cope with the “information tsunami”. Your task is to filter information and find tools to adapt to individual needs in order to transform how surgeons and doctors will access information; aggregating information in its various flavors in one unique place is a definite must for the future.

Education also has to evolve from teaching to learning. Adapting to changes in the professional medical environment and daily routine, learning must conform to personal needs, personal learning rhythms and personal choices of time and location. Information technology has evolved in a way that allows us to realize these goals.

Every human activity creates problems and complications, which are an invaluable source for learning. The prerequisite for this is transparency of documentation. The ICUC group ( has therefore collected a big anonymized, unchanged dataset of clinical cases as a basis for the development of a completely new learning tool. Of course, it is only the beginning.