Editor's Note: This article is the fifth in the Young Innovators series, originally published in Mayo Clinic's Alumni Magazine. Each article features Mayo Clinic trainee inventors and explores their journeys as biomedical entrepreneurs. All of these trainees say their goal was to improve health care for patients.
While preparing for exams during medical school at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, Anthony Kashou, M.D., grew frustrated by the state of electrocardiogram (EKG) training resources, deeming them either too basic or too advanced. He took on the task of developing EKG training materials for his fellow students during his fourth year of medical school so they wouldn’t have the same struggle.
“As a learner, I had to consult multiple textbooks and the medical literature due to the lack of appropriate resources, which isn’t the most effective way to learn,” says Dr. Kashou. “Even then, those materials did not always do a good job explaining some clinically relevant material. My classmates liked the content I created and asked for more.”
Dr. Kashou, now a final-year resident in the Department of Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, has created the fastest growing EKG community, with a million online followers. His curriculum is used by medical providers and programs around the world.
Dr. Kashou realized that medical professionals across the board wanted better EKG learning options. And after only a five-hour weekend session, the learner’s improvement in EKG literacy is measurable, he says.
Dr. Kashou is known as The EKG Guy on his website, YouTube channel and social media. He has created more than 500 EKG video lessons and EKG courses including “Ultimate EKG Breakdown,” which purports to take someone with no EKG experience to an advanced interpreter level. He recently introduced a more advanced course, “Ultimate EKG Coding Breakdown.” His curriculum has earned joint accreditation by the American Medical Association and Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.
Dr. Kashou is determined to advance EKG knowledge among noncardiac specialists for the benefit of patient care.
“Every person who enters an emergency department with chest pain or shortness of breath gets an EKG — one of the most rapid, noninvasive and cost-effective diagnostic tools in modern medicine,” he says. “EKG interpretation skills are critical for patient care, yet many providers feel unequipped to achieve proficiency. They struggle to understand why they see what they see on an EKG and often rely on memorizing patterns they need to know to pass exams. I think it’s important to be less reliant on an expert or computer’s interpretation.”
Dr. Kashou’s “Ultimate EKG Breakdown” now serves as the primary EKG course for the electrophysiology technician and physician assistant programs at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. It also serves as a means for Mayo cardiac technicians to improve their skills. On his own time, Dr. Kashou leads seminars for medical professionals at Mayo Clinic who want to improve their EKG proficiency. During the pandemic, his online curriculum served as a learning solution for Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine students when clinical duties were suspended.
Dr. Kashou is just as passionate about EKG innovation as he is about EKG education. His research focuses on the development of algorithms to aid in wide complex tachycardia differentiation, the application of artificial intelligence enabled electrocardiography in clinical practice and the creation of educational solutions to improve EKG literacy among medical providers.
“This work is exciting, and the leaps we’re making are incredible,” he says. “We have a chance to truly transform the way we address clinical problems and deliver patient care.”
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