How to record an online expert masterclass and film your video.
1. Expert masterclass: workflow
Below I share my workflow for doing online expert masterclass interviews and for filming your own videos, such as a course on a given topic or conference highlights. You may come up with a better process, then please share it.
Our goal is to present your talent to the world in the best way and make your contributions easy to discover.
We can give you a personal space on a Diagnostic Detectives Network platform that will contain your bio, all your masterclass interviews, and your personal educational video series. It will be .../dr-first-lastname (URL structure for best SEO).
Think of top 10-20-30 global experts in your specialty or area of interest. You may be interested in a topic outside your "daytime" clinical focus - that's also perfect to explore.
Think of 3 expert categories:
(1) Established KOLs. H-index >50 likely.
(2) "Rising stars": under 50, active at conferences, recent lead authors on NEJM / Nature / Science papers, etc.
(3) "Contrarians": someone known to hold an alternative view of the prevailing dogma on any topic.
Think Drs. Barry Marshall and Robin Warren before the Nobel Prize for H. Pylori. Think Dr. Alain Cribier (Rouen, France) before TAVI became SOC.
Masterclass interviews are directed at well-informed patients and their families. It is likely patients googled the topic of their interest, so they already know the basics.
What are the themes and questions that are important for patients to know about but that are not given enough emphasis?
What are the topics that are frequently misunderstood by patients?
Where are the crucial "decision forks" on a diagnostic or treatment path for common diagnoses in your area of clinical interest?
What methods of treatment are likely to become supplanted in the near future? What new methods of treatment in your specialty will we likely see in the next 2-5 years? Where is "the next TAVI"?
Two options here:
(1) I will be happy to reach out to experts on your list and ask them for a masterclass interview. I'll tell them upfront that you will do the their masterclass interview. I've done interviews with ~100 experts worldwide, so I know the drill.
When an expert agrees to connect, I will pass them back to you, or we can coordinate the masterclass interview scheduling for you.
(2) You can reach out to experts. This will be beneficial for building your relationship with a globally renowned MD in your area of interest.
The sequence of communications with an expert is usually as follows. [I have templates for each step in this sequence and I am happy to share them.]
- Initial request for interview.
- If the expert's answers "yes" > quick reply to (1) ask for several day/time slots (and stating your availability) and (2) "I will now work on questions draft based on your research and clinical work".
If the expert says "no" > I thank the expert, and if I see any hesitancy, I try to probe for changing of mind or future availability.
- I formulate a draft of 10-12 questions and a bio summary, and email both to the expert at least a week in advance. I also include a technical note in the body of email [I have a boilerplate text ready].
- One day before interview I confirm that we are connecting and if there are any issues or questions.
- After the interview I write a quick thank you note and say that as soon as the first production cut is done I will share it via an unlisted video link to review and suggest any changes. This puts experts at more ease.
- When a production cut is ready, I email a link to the expert link for feedback and suggestions to edit if the expert does not like something, and thank them again for the masterclass interview.
Again, I can provide you with templates to communicate with all experts on your top list. But the more communication with leading experts you have, the faster and stronger your build rapport with top leaders and professional recognition in your specialty.
But I can do all communications listed above for you.
Asking the right questions is the foundation of an engaging masterclass interview.
I always email questions in advance and ask for feedback. An expert may refine one question, dismiss another, and add a new one. Since the goal of our masterclass interview is to bring out the best in any expert, it's not an "adversarial" interview. It is a masterclass.
Below is my strategy on creating questions. But you might come up with your own method [and I'd love to know how you approach it].
5.1. Research the expert's PubMed papers, interviews, and biography.
I ask myself when I prepare questions:
- How to play to the strengths of this expert during masterclass interview?
- How to ensure a unique contribution of this expert to patient education?
I go through PubMed papers of the expert I will interview. If there are other video interviews, I skim them (often there are only soundbites available online for an MD with a 40-year career - a situation we strive to change, obviously).
What are the repeating or dominant themes in the expert's research papers? I pay particular attention to review articles where that expert is the sole author or one of only 2-3 authors.
I often incorporate the titles of key papers into a question verbatim [but I reformulate obscure terms for better understanding by patients].
I also look to identify any unique or contrarian views that the expert may have in the area(s) of interest.
I also look for professional (and personal, if publicly known) challenges that the expert had to overcome.
Such personal themes are always interesting topics of conversation. Experts often don't have many opportunities to discuss them in professional circles. It also shows that you care to study expert's biography and interests. Thus it helps to form a better rapport.
5.2. I aim for 10-12 questions, and I also ask three recurring questions towards the end of every interview:
- What is the future in X speciality? What progress can patients expect in the next 5 to 10 years?
- Could you please discuss a clinical case or a vignette that illustrates well some of the topics we discussed today? [Experts share excellent stories that highlight a human part of medicine - which is one of the goals of our masterclasses.]
- Is there anything else in your life experience or interests that you'd like to share with our viewers? Experts may highlight a personal wisdom or valuable observation on medical education and mentorship.
5.3. How to formulate questions?
- When formulating questions, I think in terms of keywords because keywords inside questions will help patients to find your masterclass online. And that's a crucial goal.
I sometimes use "Google suggest" and note top combinations of terms that come up in a search drop-down once you start typing any term.
- I spell out all terms and use "or" to include a synonymous term. It does sound weird, but it definitely helps with SEO and increases clarity of question for patients.
- I write a one- or two-sentence preamble, rich with relevant keywords. Then I formulate a question with at least two, sometimes three, related variations.
Again, it sounds weird, but it allows more keyword combinations for SEO, and it provides the expert you interview with a wider leeway to discuss a comprehensive answer in 5 or 10 minutes.
If you formulate a concise question, the expert may give a terse answer in 1 minute, and that will be it. It's not really good for a masterclass interview. Sometimes it's a personal style of expert to give concise answers (or misunderstanding of the masterclass nature). I find such interviews difficult. It requires coming up with multiple follow-up questions on the fly. It is also harder to edit such "dialogue-rich" interviews.
5.4. Prepare a keyword-rich biography.
I have a biography template that I am happy to share, but you can do it in your style. I start an interview with reading the expert's biography.
Experts are often very particular how their biography is formulated, and they may revert with edits and updated information.
It's best to get the bio text approved in advance rather than make changes during interview.
5.5. Email questions and biography to the expert and their assistant a week in advance of the masterclass interview date.
Gear. You don't need much gear to record an excellent online video interview.
6.1. Web Camera: I use Logitech Brio, it's an excellent plug-and-play web cam.
Sound is more important than video. Yes, it's true. Please do NOT use AirPods for microphone.
But do use wireless AirPods for incoming sound.
If you use a computer speaker to hear the expert's voice during the recording, echo suppression algorithms will kick in and the quality for audio recording will decrease.
This is why sound from the expert's voice should go into your headphones. Wired AirPods look ugly in the video frame, but wireless AirPods look great.
I have wired MEE M6 PRO Musician’s In-Ear Monitors, but you don't need them if you have wireless AirPods.
I suggest getting a USB microphone. It will give you a much better sound. That is really important!
You don't have to do it, but I record a backup sound on my end separately with Rode Wireless Go II and a Rode Lavalier microphone. Then I use that sound in the production, because it has a much better quality than online-recorded sound. Again, no need for you to go extra length.
6.4. Teleconference software.
Let's keep it simple and record in Google Meet or Zoom. I will make a Google Work account for you and you can record from there. If the expert prefers Zoom, I can get you a paid Zoom account.
I will comment on the exact logistics of recording a Google Meet or Zoom interview separately because there are several important tips to follow during actual interview.
A cloud recording in Zoom or Google Meet will be available shortly after the interview. Forward us a download link and we will produce your masterclass interview.
All our videos contain burned-in captions in English. Our masterclass conversations are viewed from >170 countries, so the majority of viewers are not native English speakers. Captions definitely help them understand conversations better. Many people also like to watch the videos on mute.
There is a process to make captions efficiently. It starts with recording a clear sound on both sides of conversation.
Enunciating clearly keywords during your 2-3 sentence preamble and variations of the question helps to make a great transcript. Then we run transcripts through several tools to turn often continuous speech into discreet sentences.
Transcripts are translated by AI into 15+ languages, so simple sentence structure and active voice improve translation quality significantly.
When we have the first production cut of the interview, we will email you a link to it that you can share it with the expert [we have an email template for this follow-up email too]. It's another opportunity to continue building relationships.
It does not matter how big or famous is a hosptal, it still does not have all perfect experts for every subtype of every disease.
But no one tells you that, right?
Every clinic says, "we are the best to treat you". They might be "the best" for one specific situation, but not necessarily for another situation. And certainly no one is "the best" for all possible medical situations.
Medicine is a big business, so no hospital will share its patients with another hospital. Doing that would mean losing significant revenue. So every hospital says "we are the best for everything".
An analogy with airlines is an apt comparison of how every hospital approaches its patients.
This analogy is described in our video "You live in a large city. You have top health insurance. How could you benefit from our services?"
Patients are often not sent to the doctors who might be the best for that patient. There are many reasons for that.
1. Administrators don't know or don't care how to match patients with physicians precisely.
2. Administrators or insurance company will send you to any doctor within a broadly relevant specialty who "accepts new patients". This is done to even the workload of physicians.
3. A perfect expert may be too busy. He or she will never learn that there is a new patient who has a medical issue tailor-made for that expert.
4. You may insist and get [especially if you are a "VIP"] to see a "Head of the Department" or the most famous doctor in a hospital. But they might not have the best expertise for your subtype of disease.
It's possible their skills might be "rusty" due to advancing age or high administrative burden of work. They could be "research submarines" who "surface" for clinical duties only for one or two months every year (and you will never know that).
Read our founder's story how his mother did not initially get to the best expert for her type of lung tumor, even though such expert worked at the same hospital.
Three highly qualified experts in the same specialty may highlight different nuances of your situaiton and weigh available treatment options differently.
Sometimes, one of the experts may have a dissenting view. We call it "minority report", as in a movie "Minority Report" with Tom Cruise.
A dissenting view, when it exists, matters greatly for you, because it may lead to additional steps to clarify a diagnosis at a deeper level. It may challenge the default assumptions for diagnosis and treatment.
You always want to hear a minority report, just like Tom Cruise did in that movie.
On the other hand, all three perfect experts may render similar opinions on the diagnosis and preferred treatment options for you. Then it gives you an extra degree of confidence in a planned treatment. That is a lot of value too.
We compile a list of experts who are most active in research and innovations in your particular subtype of diagnosis.
There are often 100 to 500 thousand research articles on common diagnoses. Rare diagnosis may have less than 100 published articles.
We deeply analyze research literature and select those experts who precisely fit our client's exact diagnosis, stage of disease, and particular circumstances (for example, co-morbidities or treatment modality preferences).
Medical conferences often have cutting-edge information presented to academic peers before it is published in medical research journals.
Abstracts, posters, speaker lists, titles of talks can point very precisely at nuances of any diagnosis or treatment option.
This information may help to find perfect experts for any situaiton.
Physicians often have important information about their colleagues.
For example, leading experts in a speciality may help to identify their top peers in a different country or continent.
Trusted doctors may have an important reputational information that they can subtly convey, or steer us away from a surgeon or medical specialist who is suboptimal to perform a particualr treatment. Such information is almost never made public.
We listen to their ideas and suggestions to identify those experts around the world who are the best to solve your specific medical challenge.
Every clinic, hospital, or healthcare company that we are aware of has a limited number of doctors for consultation and treatment of patients.
By definition, a limited number of experts who you can consult or who could perform your treatment means that you could be limited to find and access perfect experts for your exact medical situation.
Of course, you will never know it, because no one will tell you that an expert who fits your situation better is available at another hospital. All hospitals are very territorial. They advance their own brand first and foremost. As they should!
Alternatively, you may not be in a country where there is a free market for access to medical experts. Sweden, for example.
We are different. We search the whole world of leading academic medical experts to find you those specialists who fit your exact situation perfectly.
With the help of modern communication technology, these perfect experts can render a remote opinion on your situation.
If you are seeking a doctor who could perform your treatment, whether it is a surgical operation or medical treatment of any complexity, we work with you to narrow the geography of our search to fit your preferences and circumstances.
But we always aim to find and select several perfect experts for you. So that you can choose a doctor for your treatment.
We are confident that we can always succeed in finding perfect experts for any medical situation.
We are truly agnostic to where the experts work. Our only criterion is how precisely the research and clinical focus of that expert fits your specific medical situation.
We seek experts who fit your situation like a key fits in a lock. So that the expert, "the key", can solve your health challenge fast and without friction, and open "the lock".
Experts in our review panels come from different clinics, regions, and often countries. This ensures that their views are unbiased and objective.
And we moderate the conversation, we analyze and cross-reference all their suggestions with peer-reviewed medical literature.
Well-qualified experts may have divergent views on your treatment options.
They might weigh pros and cons of the same treatment option differently.
They could present distinct arguments on the same method of treatment.
You want to hear all those views. Knowing how to weigh all available treatment options wisely is crucial for choosing the right method of treatment.
Consider a panel of three experts (of the same specialty). There are three possibilities how they could view your situation.
1. All three experts may agree on your diagnosis and treatment plan. That's an important validation of the plan.
2. Two experts have similar views, one expert has a dissenting view. That is a "Minority Report" situation. You want to know it (just like Tom Cruise wanted to know his "Minority Report" in the namesake movie).
3. All experts have divergent views regarding your treatment options. This rarely happens, in our experience. But when it does, it sends you a strong signal that you may need to have additional diagnostic tests or other strategy to clarify your situation.
That is why a panel of at least three precise experts from the same specialty is the best apporach to review any medical situation.
Your anticipated treatment may be multimodal, for example, surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy. Then two or three experts in each planned mode of treatment is the best approach to review your medical situation from every angle.
We assemble a panel of experts from several regions or countries.
Geographical and institutional diversity of experts gives you a better balance of viewpoints on complex treatment options. It safeguards you from bias.
Geography matters in medicine. "Schools of thought" tend to cluster in regions. This is a "founder's effect" in healthcare.
One prominent doctor may train multiple "desciples" and spread his influence across a given region. Therefore, more physicians from that region may have similar views on treatment options in a particular diagnosis.
You want to know how experts from diverse clinical philosophies view your situation.
You must appreciate that at the highest level of practice all experts in the same specialty know each other.
Leading experts have to mingle at conferences. They move in the same professioanl circles all their life.
Think of politicians, presidents of countries. They have personal opinions of each other, positive and negative. They form alliances and they hold grudges.
Science is a cuthroat business underneath the surface.
Experts may have patent disputes. They may be affiliated with competing technologies or drugs developed by competing pharmaceutical companies.
Leading experts move between top-tier hospitals throughout a long career and may have personal and professional disputes.
If one expert knows what another expert [with name attached] thinks of the same patient, all the above factors may come into play.
They may subtly influence the degree of agreement or disagreement regaridng the interpretation of a patient's situation.
Therefore, each expert on a panel that we assemble to review your situation, studies your situation independently of other experts.
This further ensures the objectivity of review.
An expert may be reluctant to voice or contradict certain opinions if an author of that opinion is known.
If an expert knows that other experts will see his or her name attached to an opinion, they may also be more cautious or more compliant with a prevailing dogma regarding a diagnosis or treatment preference.
A more junior expert who nevetheless has the ultimate relevant knowledge on a given diagnosis or treatment method might be reluctant to contradict a view of an eminent doctor who might hold outdated views on the same issue.
For example, a more "junior" expert from an administrative standpoint may have an important research grant being reviewed by a panel that includes a very senior doctor. If both exerts know what the other expert thinks of a particular case, this may positively or negatively influence their other interactions.
Our experts know that their opinion is anonymous to other experts on a panel [especially in the same speciality]. So they are more likely to render a direct, honest, and robust opinion on your medical situation.
Experts themselves prefer to work this way.
Anonymity of experts to each other also allows us to ask what one expert thinks of an argument advanced by another expert, without attaching any names to the view in question. You benefit from such cross-examinations of expert opinions.
We increasingly work with clients anonymously. There are three reasons why.
1. It protects your privacy better.
2. It reduces risks of bias based on your location, ethnicity, and name.
3. It avoids a "medical VIP syndrome", which is a well-recognized and persistent hazard in healthcare in every country.
We serve many clients who have a recognizable status in their professional circles and in society.
They value extra privacy and appreciate when expert opinions do not take their recognizable name into consideration.
In medicine, "VIP syndrome" is a well-known risk factor for patient's treatment and outcome.
But everyone can benefit from an extra degree of privacy that an anonymous review of any medical situation can provide.
Privacy is built into our process.
1. We do not send your primary medical reports to expert panel members.
We formulate a concise structured summary of your situation, supported by crucial relevant data.
We state ethnicity only where it may be clinically relevant [for example, in certain genetic disorders or where medications have known different efficacy or safety for different enthnicities].
2. MRI, CT, and other diagnostic test results can be scrubbed of patient-identifying information. This is done in all clinical trials, for example. We use the same technology to enhance privacy.
3. There are situations when a referral to medical experts for treatment is required. This is what we do in such situations.
First, we run the situation by experts without identifying the patient.
Second, a relevant specialist confirms that a certain treatment method is suitable. Then our client agrees that a direct referral should be made.
Third, we provide a client with a direct contact information for the specialist. You provide directly your own identifying information as you see fit.
Experts who study your situation are the world leaders in their field. They do a lot of concurrent work.
1. They treat hundreds of patients.
2. They oversee dozens of clinical trials.
3. They run large research laboratories.
3. They present keynote talks at conferences worldwide.
4. They publish 20-50-70 research papers every year.
5. They edit high-impact medical journals.
6. They have significant administrative duties.
Experts of such high caliber require a well-structured presentation of your situation and efficient communication.
We structure all relevant data from you into a concise written summary. It contains dense clinical language and numerous abbreviations, specific for each speciality.
Experts revert to us in a similar efficient MD-to-MD communicaiton style.
We compare views of all experts from an entire panel that reviews your situation. Where necessary, we do several iterations of communication with expert panel members. We clarify and cross-reference their views.
We then "translate" technical views of your expert panel into plain English.
We add background information and internet links to relevant medical articles and reviews.
Our written report includes all views of your expert panel.
You also get background and supplementary information that helps you to understand the context and reasons for every expert's view.
Our report typically contains over 10 pages [in contrast to a dry 1-2 page letter that you get from most "second opinion" providers].
You have ample time to study our written report, read background information, and follow relevant internet links contained in the report.
Then you can revert to us with well-developed follow-up questions. We may run your follow-up quesitons by an expert panel again, where necessary.
Asynchronous communication results in a much higher quality of review of any medical situation.
1. It allows you to reflect on expert panel's views. It puts expert views in a context of relevant background information. Our report provides you with extensive internet links to relevant research and review articles.
All this helps you to formulate better follow-up questions.
2. It allows us to run several iterations of communication with experts during your case review. We are able to study, clarify, and cross-examine multiple expert views before creating a comprehensive written report for you.
3. It allows world-leading experts to be very efficient in reviewing your situation. It makes their work more thorough and fast.
4. It simplifies the logistics of communication across different time zones and busy schedules of expert panel members.
5. It allows to work efficiently in several languages for both experts and patients.
Excellent medical experts may not have a complete standard grammatic fluency in fast-spoken English, but they are perfectly fine in written communication. They publish hundreds of relevant research articles in English.
Both experts and patients might have accents that they are not familiar with. This may prevent a clear understanding of fast-moving conversation on a highly technical topic. Live translation always takes away valuable time.
Written communication in technical language between us and experts, and in plain English between us and clients resolves all such issues.
Although our original reports for clients are written in English, we are able to provide a translation of the report into our client's native language.
Video and audio calls may seem attractive at first.
However, synchronous communication [video or audio calls] has many drawbacks.
1. It limits the depth and breadth of interaction between an expert and a patient. Usually, only one expert is available for a call at any time.
2. It lowers the caliber and fit of experts available for any medical situation. Logistics and availability of experts quickly become bottlenecks.
3. It rushes follow-up questions and limits contextual information for expert's views.
4. It severely reduces the efficiency of interactions for all parties involved.
Most services brush over these important drawbacks.
Audio and video calls may be suitable for conversations with internists and general practitioners. Calls betwen patients and doctors are suitable for physicians who are well familar with the patient. Such doctors are likely to also see the same patient in person on a regular basis.
Asynchronous communication wins every time in all situations that require world's leading experts to help with complex medical situations. It is the best method to work across time zones and languages.
We believe in minimal bureaucracy. We don’t make you gather all your medical records or fill out numerous forms. We focus on the most relevant information and most pertinent studies.
We follow a structured process. All our work is done online. We complete most cases within 5 business days.
We can help you with identifying and obtaining the most relevant information.
You can share your information with us via secure encrypted file exchange services.
If a translation into English is required, we can translate documents from most languages.
Typically, we check with a relevant specialist if sufficient information is present.
If you need to get more information, you can do additional diagnostic tests at any convenient location and transmit results to us electronically.
This is what doctors do in any hospital or clinic. There is a well-developed method of structuring and presenting patient information for any situation and any diagnosis.
We then present your case and the results of relevant diagnostic tests to an international panel of precisely selected leading experts.
We usually have several iterations of communication with all specialists who work on your case. Our typical volume of communication with an expert panel on a single case exceeds 50 emails or messages.
We often seek to clarify nuances of their suggestions and cross-reference different opinions. As described previously, all experts review your case independently of each other.
Sometimes experts review your case as a team. This may happen when different specialists are involved in planning a multimodality treatment, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy for cancer treatment.
We then incorporate all views and suggestions of experts into a comprehensive written report for you.
Our report includes additional information that helps you understand the background and implications of expert panel's recommendations.
A typical "second opinion" letter from other providers is a dry one- or two-page document. Moreover, half of a typical letter just repeats your current medical situation.
Our written report for you provides extensive and expertly curated background information that is relevant for your situation.
It is important to analyze any medical opinion in a context of background information and to review all available treatment options. Our report always provides you with such context.
After you review our report, we provide you with an opportunity to ask us follow-up questions. You can do that via email or any messenger.
We will answer all your questions and provide an extensive follow-up on the same topic. We always encourage you to share our report with your primary clinical team.
All your data is deleted approximately one month after we transfer our expert opinion report to you. This is the best protection of your privacy.
You may ask us to keep your data for longer. This might be useful for situations where a follow up with an expert panel after treatment is expected.