I had the distinct pleasure of working under Dr. Shariq Raza in the Department of Traumatology, Surgical Critical Care and Emergency Surgery this summer. Alongside my main research project, I was able to work with Dr. Raza on several other compelling projects. The goal of my main project this summer had to deal with the existing knowledge and usage of Smartphone Emergency Medical ID (SEMID) among specifically trauma patients and family members as well as trauma healthcare providers. SEMID essentially allows one to access vital information, including identifying demographics, medical information e.g. medications, allergies, medical history, and emergency contacts from the phone’s lock screen. Furthermore, our project aims to evaluate the efficacy of such a feature to potentially streamline the patient care process. Unidentified unresponsive patients are often brought to trauma centers in need of immediate medical care. A vast majority of these patients also have a smartphone in their possession. This commonplace situation provides the basis for the potential use of our project.
My role in this project comprised of designing and creating the survey that we ultimately administered, administering the survey, educating those affected i.e. patients and healthcare providers, and working with trauma residents, fellows and faculty to better our project and awareness of SEMID. The ultimate goal of our project is to address the underutilization of SEMID through education. We hope to reach a point where all patients have this useful feature set-up, and healthcare professionals regularly query this feature when appropriate. At the end of the summer, I had the distinct honor of presenting my work and findings at Penn’s Trauma Educational Conference. Moreover, I was honored to be able to shadow and immerse myself in the life of a trauma surgery attending. This summer, I learned how research and just about any profession in medicine go hand-in-hand. I was able to see the inspiration behind many projects and learn how researchers think. I was also able to see the excitement behind research and the clear, big-picture impact that it has. I am now comfortable with using Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN), and I have also learned skills in statistical analysis with the help of SPSS (IBM Corp, Armonk, NY). Most importantly, research and shadowing this summer allowed me to really gain a wider perspective on medicine and society through patient and societal interactions.
Ultimately, this summer reaffirmed my desires to pursue some sort of career in medicine. However, more importantly, it showed me the intrigue and necessity in conducting research, and as a result, I firmly believe that research will be a large part of whichever profession I ultimately choose to pursue.