In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

December 11, 2018

Transforming ECG Education Is Not All Fun and Games, Except When It Is

By In the Loop

Mayo Clinic resident Anthony Kashou, M.D., has taken it upon himself to teach health care providers near and far the fundamentals of reading ECGs, all in the name of improved patient care.


Anthony Kashou, M.D., is on a mission to improve electrocardiogram education around the globe. And have some fun in the process. For the past few months, he's been taking his audience on deep dives into ECG interpretation during the weekly — and weekend — training sessions. With the commitment of an instructor and the flair of a game show host.

"What we're trying to teach are the fundamentals of reading ECGs because having gone through medical school — myself not here at Mayo Clinic — while we did get some training, I feel there's a gap between what's taught and what's needed for proper patient care," Dr. Kashou, a first-year internal medicine resident at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus, tells us. "So what we're teaching in these sessions are the fundamentals of reading ECGs and how to make them directly applicable to a patient's care."

Dr. Kashou uses fun and games in his teaching, like a recent five-hour training session on a snowy Saturday morning that — despite the weather — drew more than 70 of his Mayo Clinic colleagues. "He really keeps things fun," Mayo cardiologist Peter Noseworthy, M.D., tells us. "He uses a Jeopardy-style format with prizes to teach these really important patient care skills, and the number of people who have been attending his sessions is impressive. It might be hard to imagine 70-plus people having fun on a Saturday morning reading ECGs, but they did. It's great to see."

Dr. Kashou's also been busy creating ECG-related instructional and practice videos and textbooks for his courses, as well as pop quizzes, which he posts for the more than 250,000 members of his The EKG Guy Facebook group. (You read that right.) "During the past year and a half, we've become the largest and fastest-growing ECG online community in the world," he says. "It's been pretty fun to be a part of that, and I think the size of the group alone shows the need for something like this. Improved and enhanced EKG education, in my opinion, is an unmet need of virtually everyone in the medical field."

Thanks to Dr. Kashou and his innovative, engaging teaching style, that's changing. "What Anthony's spearheading with these sessions and his Facebook group is tremendously important," Adam May, M.D., a cardiovascular diseases resident at Mayo Clinic, tells us. "ECG interpretation is a really difficult skill to master, and a lot of the training we receive can sometimes come up short in comparison to what's required to really do a good job of making critical diagnoses to help advance a patient's care in the right direction. It's one of those skills that anyone can learn, but to really learn it well takes a lot of time and effort."

Time and effort that Mayo Clinic Nursing Education Specialist Alicia Pfeilsticker, for one, has been putting in. "I've attended three of Dr. Kashou's sessions so far," Pfeilsticker tells us. "Accurate ECG interpretation is a critical part of nursing, and his sessions are an excellent opportunity to obtain reinforcement of basic and advanced ECG concepts."

If you'd like to join that fun, you can start by joining Dr. Kashou's "The EKG Guy" Facebook group. Then share your comments in the form of a question below before using the handy social media tools atop this page to share this story with others.


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Tags: Alicia Pfeilsticker, Cardiovascular Medicine, Dr. Adam May, Dr. Anthony Kashou, Dr. Peter Noseworthy, Education, Employee Stories, Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Medical Education Stories

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