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How UW Health improved performance 12% in 5 minutes a day

Time-starved OB/GYN residents loved learning via text

University of Washington School of Medicine is a top-ranked medical school nationally.


Nationwide, hundreds of schools
In-person, frontline
Role of learner
OB/GYN medical residents

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“The residents loved it, whether in the middle of a night shift or a hectic clinic day, each resident was able to spare a minute to answer the question and read through the feedback as soon as they had a break.”


➡️78% of nationwide OB/GYN students signed up
➡️82% of enrolled learners completed the entire 25-day course
➡️Learners showed an average increase of 12% in understanding of core medical school topics upon completion

The challenge

Medical students — and particularly residents, who work on the hospital floor for long shifts as well as attend classes — often work >80 hours a week, and yet study sessions are often in-person and not optimized for time.

Nick Burns, a second-year fellow in maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Washington, sought to tackle this issue by releasing a podcast CREOGS Over Coffee.

The goal was to compress the dense textbook chapters used to prepare for residents’ annual CREOG exam into digestible 15-minute segments.

The issue is that while CREOGS Over Coffee was well attended, learners still had issues locating study materials, keeping track of progress and the sound-centered delivery method. In short, CREOGS Over Coffee was still a form of “pull” education like medical school alternatives.

How medical residents nationwide used Arist to boost medical school knowledge in <5m a day

Burns began with a pilot using University of Washington medical residents. He was quickly able to port his 45-day CREOG review course into a messaging-app-based format. The aim of the initial run was to validate value in the even more time-condensed format. Learners would receive some concepts every day, a multiple choice question, and then receive immediate feedback and additional resources depending on whether they answered the prompt correctly.

After an overwhelmingly positive validation of the pilot, Burns turned to a larger audience: OB/GYN residents nationwide. Despite receiving similar medical school core curriculum, starting residents often have had more or less of various foundational topics. Many residents find the “levelling out” period at the start of medical residency difficult without feedback on what they may need to be caught up on.

With an aim to support this stage with instant feedback and additional details, Burns created a 25-day pre-residency course meant to catch new residents up on foundational material they may have missed. With the help of university professors and more advanced students, they quickly launched. Within the first year, a majority of incoming OB/GYN residents in the nation signed up for and completed the course.

Impact of Arist for OB/GYN residents nationwide

With the initial nationwide rollout of a pre-OB/GYN residency course, 78% of eligible learners signed up. With lessons taking around 5 minutes a day, 82% of course participants completed the entire 25 day course. 93% of learners reported the course was “extremely enjoyable.”

In a post-course in-depth knowledge survey, learners showed they had increased their understanding of medical school topics that are foundational to OB/GYN training by an astounding 12%. Furthermore, those who were further behind when the course behind had more significant gains.

With Arist microlearning as the first touchpoint in residency education, we can clearly show the ability of microlearning to support medical outcomes from day one of a doctor’s working life. All in a handful of minutes in a messaging app a day.


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