Personal Insights: Q&A with Dr. Lise Alschuler, TAP Integrative

Personal Insights: Q&A with Dr. Lise Alschuler, TAP Integrative

Dr. Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO, is the executive director of TAP Integrative, a nonprofit website dedicated to being an in-depth resource for trustworthy and practical clinical information. Dr. Alschuler was awarded Physician of the Year in 2014 from the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) and has held many esteemed positions throughout her career including past-President of the AANP and founding board member and current President of the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

An Overview of Dr. Lise Alschuler on her role in digital education.

Question: What is TAP Integrative

Dr. Alschuler: TAP Integrative is an educational website designed specifically for integrative practitioners to learn from their colleagues who have expertise within certain clinical conditions. The whole site is set up in a way that allows users to either do a quick search and find the specific answer they’re looking for, or spend hours on a topic and really refresh themselves. It’s really designed with the integrative clinician in mind who is living to Teach, Advocate, and Practice integrative medicine

Why did you feel the need to establish it?

It was a funny serendipity, actually. Personally, I really wanted to refocus my professional efforts on education in a more dedicated way. At that very same time, Integrative Therapeutics was looking for a venture to sponsor that promoted education to integrative practitioners. So we ended up joining forces. Integrative is the founding sponsor of TAP, although it is an independent, brand-agnostic non-profit.

I had been talking to a lot of my colleagues to find out what they want, because my initial idea for this was simply that I wanted to create a source that clinicians can go to and find clinically relevant, really practical information that they can trust. It’s obviously grown into so much more, but we’ve maintained that core concept.

What can healthcare professionals get from TAP Integrative that they can’t get anywhere else?

TAP is unique in several ways. Everything we publish comes from an experienced clinician or clinician expert, meaning it’s going to end up being - not only very trustworthy - but really clinically actionable. You’re not just getting theoretical information, you’re getting information that you can apply to your practice immediately. I think that’s unique. I don’t really know of any other online resource specifically for integrative practitioners with that level of quality of information and that orientation towards clinical practice.

How do you verify that the resources are accurate and up to date?

It’s a very long process to create content for TAP. We start by doing an in-depth interview with the medical expert and they also provide us with any information that they’ve already captured in written format. Then our medical writers translate all of that into content on TAP so that there’s consistency from one topic to the next.

That's where we do a lot of the initial evidence research. We verify things the expert has indicated they want us to write about and we make sure there’s evidence in the body of scientific research to support that approach. The content is then peer reviewed, and it goes back to the expert for their final review to make sure the material is consistent with their clinical practice and it reflects their voice, their approach, and their perspective.

Once it goes through all that it’s finalized and ready for publication. By the time it gets on to TAP it’s gone through several layers of professional review.

Connecting and networking with other healthcare professionals seems to be an important part of the site as well.

Yes, it is! We launched our forum just under a year ago. It’s for members only and to be a member on TAP you have to have valid credentials as an integrative practitioner. This allows a safe environment for clinicians to dialogue with one another. Members can start a topic about a variety of things like a specific disease or condition, or post about a study they read and are curious of other people’s thoughts on it, or maybe they have a difficult patient and need some support or help. The entire site, including the forum, is also free of advertising and product mentions, to ensure the focus remains on quality dialogue.

What else is on the horizon?

There’s actually two nice services I haven’t mentioned that are available to members. One is full text article retrieval. With the generous support of Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, a member can fill out an online form and request any article they want off of PubMed. Within a few days they will have their article pdf emailed to them for free and they can do that as often as they like. That’s a huge benefit because a lot of these articles are really expensive, and after getting four of them they’ve already paid their membership.

We also have a CE available for naturopathic doctors and any practitioner group can use that. It’s provided by Bastyr University and we follow through their accreditation process. Very soon we are going to launch category 1 CME for clinical medical education--continuing education credit--which is a really big deal and a testament to the quality of information on TAP Integrative.

Did you ever see yourself becoming so involved in technology projects?

It’s very true, I’d have to say if you asked me fifteen years ago, “Hey Lise, are you going to be involved in digital anything?” I’d be like, “No way, I’m going to use my computer for what I have to and that’s it.” So I had a reluctant start but I have to say, once I got into this it’s really something that grabbed me whole heartedly.

It’s that flexibility that I like and there’s a lot that you can convey that is only available digitally like video, audio, and graphics. You can put all of that together so it becomes very dynamic and appeals to people regardless of their learning style.

For more from Dr. Lise Alschuler, check out her profile page on Integrative Wisdom.

Personal Insights is a series of profiles on the people and institutions leading the movement forward, breaking down the barriers between integrative care and everyone who needs it. Integrative Therapeutics is committed to supporting these initiatives, because we believe everyone deserves options to choose their ideal path to health and happiness.

All opinions expressed are those of our subjects.


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