Entrepreneurship Podcast post

Innovating Healthcare Training with Kyle Swinsky

George Grombacher February 16, 2023

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Innovating Healthcare Training with Kyle Swinsky

LifeBlood: We talked about innovating healthcare training, meeting the need for additional training opportunities, why the problem exists, how technology is helping, and what the future could hold, with Kyle Swinsky, CEO of AMOpportunities, an org changing the way medical professionals are trained. 

Listen to learn the types of doctors we need the most!

You can learn more about Kyle at AMOpportunities.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

KYle swinsky

Kyle Swinsky

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:02
Well, Michael, this is George G. And the time is right welcome. Today’s guest struggle powerful. Kyle swiderski. Kyle, how are you ready to do this?

Kyle Swinsky 0:08
Yes, I am. Thank you, George. All right, let’s

george grombacher 0:11
go. Kyle is the CEO of am opportunities. They’re an organization, creating educational experiences like church internships, for healthcare trainees and other services advancing the next generation of physicians. Kyle, excited to have you on, tell us a bit about your personal life smart about your work and why you do what you do. Yeah,

Kyle Swinsky 0:32
so yeah, we’re going into 10 years now of em opportunities. And I like to think of it as my passion. I got my start helping international students, or 15 years ago as an undergraduate student. And at the time, it was all about getting into medical school. I realized at the time that there were other things going on, such as helping international students were the researchers demand point for getting international students into the US healthcare system, that I thought let’s take a year off and build a business and really naturally took off into this business that helps International Healthcare students get into the United States for their health care training. The cool thing about the patch is that it was originally and still is an access problem where traditionally international students had difficulties coming into the states because they had to find opportunities. I would say faster today. It’s helping students just down the road find opportunities. So our business while we started as an international facing business, it’s helping all healthcare students today and all healthcare students have the same problem getting access to educational training. But I still think it’s it’s important that we do we still help students from over 100 countries. And during the pandemic, it became even more important just because travel is shut down. Health care was in need. And the passion is still the same, I’d say so 10 years ago is about access. And when we talk to our 40 plus employees now about our mission and vision, it’s it’s exactly the same.

george grombacher 2:07
It is that your fault, Kyle, that you haven’t created the access, or there’s just so much demand.

Kyle Swinsky 2:13
You know, I think the problem just doesn’t go away, I think there is so much demand. And there’s it’s also a more of a a systemic, or a system type of problem. You know, the demand comes in where, of course, this everyone, not everyone, but a lot of people want to go into healthcare, you kind of seen already the United States where it’s really tough to get into medical school, put that at a macro level, just as tough to get into medical school is just as hard to find access to health care education.

george grombacher 2:42
Which is, which, which from the outside looking in is confusing, because I believe we have a shortage in a lot of the important areas.

Kyle Swinsky 2:53
It is confusing, I think it comes down to the lack of training opportunities. So a good metal or good analogy would be to look at a medical school, they have spots for about 150 students and in class, that’s a US medical school or international school. Those 150 students, they have to go and learn what life is like becoming a doctor or a nurse, which they call clinical hours. So you go into a hospital, you go work with a clinic, and you have to do this for X amount of hours for medical school is two to three years. For nurses. It’s about 180 or something hours, that changes for physician assistants, they have their hours. And what you find is that with virtual learning online classrooms, and new schools building, the demand and the amount of students in the classroom is outpacing the amount of clinical training available. And you got to think with the pandemic, when there are more patients in the hospitals. The hospitals were closing down because they also needed to allocate space to other areas that shutdown a lot of training for students, which already we’re having troubles before the pandemic. So when you have international students that need clinical training, US students that need clinical training all different types of healthcare trainees, it really becomes something where yeah, there are shortages. But these these issues are actually what caused the shortages, where, you know, if every medical school actually had more clinical training, they could accept more students into their classrooms. But they have to be selective, they have to turn students away because of that bottleneck right there.

george grombacher 4:24
That’s fascinating. It’s a it makes sense that that medical schools are selective. I want my doctor to be the smartest human being on planet earth or wherever human beings exist. But that’s really it. There’s that and your your assertion is that there are plenty of other people who are perfectly capable of becoming doctors, but they aren’t able to because of this bottleneck of a lack of clinical spots for training. Exactly. Got it. And so you recognize this problem. And the solution is,

Kyle Swinsky 5:05
the solution is is is at scale, creating more training opportunities, creating better ways to provide access. And being the going in and explain to these horses is how important these students really are. Because there are places that have less training, rural care America, and a lot of hotspots that it’s not just because they don’t want to train, you know, a lot of those doctors and healthcare professionals want to train. But first students don’t know about them. So it’s creating training places that just never seems, could find the first place. And then it’s faculty development, getting doctors to teach the first time and getting them to join the network. So for us, and we have roughly 500 live training sites around the country on our platform, that all are providing this different types of training, different specialties, different locations, different types of requirements. And at scale, we’re able to provide that to learners in many different shapes and forms. And that that access pieces, not just through the business model itself, but also the technology that allows for students of find exactly what they need, as well as their schools who they can do it, they can in their own, you know, one school at a time. But say one school in New Jersey needs to send students to the state of Ohio, New Jersey is really focused on New Jersey or the country of India’s focus where their school is, we’re able to help those schools or students get into different states different locations, while their school focuses on their home court.

george grombacher 6:38
Not. And now it’s starting to sort of make sense to me, that, that the physician who’s been a practicing physician or medical professional for 20 years, this would be a wonderful person to be able to learn from, that doesn’t mean that they can teach 500 people it doesn’t mean that they want to, to take on that responsibility. Is that part of the problem? So it’s Yeah,

Kyle Swinsky 7:02
yeah, part part part. Yeah. I mean, a typical doctor may be three hours away from the nearest healthcare school. And they may not be part of a teaching hospital, but they want to teach. And that’s a perfect teacher to join or network, or the teacher that is at say, you know, Johns Hopkins or Harvard, that’s teaching already, but they want to teach even more, because there’s opportunities for them to get more students in. So really, it’s just creating more scale, and finding opportunities in all different areas. And at scale, it allows to really bring the solution forward.

george grombacher 7:38
So how does it actually work to the people to go to these places?

Kyle Swinsky 7:42
Exactly. So our our, we like to call it software enabled services, because service is really what we do. Students come to our platform or a school, they’ll find the rotation they need or rotations, they’ll sign up. And really were there before, during and after in terms of student services. So a student would come to us or their school. And right away, our staff helped the student set up their experience, attend their experience. And then when they leave that experience, a lot of times they need a letter of recommendation to advance in their career or a letter for credit, so that they can transfer this to their school. We do all of that for the students and every school that we work with, so that it really just continues their education and they can go on and become the physician they’d like to be. I

george grombacher 8:31
love it. Is there a typical length of time for a rotation?

Kyle Swinsky 8:36
Yeah, usually their four week blocks for medical students. It ranges sometimes where you can do 12 weeks in the medical field a lot of times is by the week or by the month that kind of goes in with your academic calendar. If you’re a nurse practitioner, sometimes you’re not allocated an X amount of time to finish X amount of hours. So rather than four weeks finishing it, you may have a set three months to finish X amount of hours and go when you need to go but at the end of the day, there’s there’s some rhythm and rhyme to it. And the blocks are in cadence typically like that.

george grombacher 9:13
So just to use a really simplistic example I am in medical school, I’m interested in being a a podiatrist. And so I need a set number of rotations that is just required for me to matriculate and graduate. And if I’m in Princeton, New Jersey, and there’s not a spot at the local teaching hospital, I can go to am opportunities and potentially find one in Idaho or Arizona.

Kyle Swinsky 9:40
Exactly. Exactly.

george grombacher 9:43
Got it. Okay, that’s awesome. And how, how who who pays for it?

Kyle Swinsky 9:49
It’s usually the school or the student. All healthcare students already are paying for rotations and the term and the International tuition. Your final two are Three years of healthcare school, when you pay your tuition, your teachers are actually physicians or nurses, professionals that are teaching on, we’re just outsourcing that for the school. So the school pay us a lot of times a lot of the US schools are paying us, because it’s outsourcing what what they’re supposed to do for their students. And then the students will pass. And that’s because the students are doing it outside of their, their traditional school. And they want to do this to augment the career. And I mean, really, it’s a, it’s a big thing for international students especially so 27% of all US positions are internationally trained him to stand out, when they want to get a job here, they really need those letters of recommendation. So to them being out of pocket makes a lot of sense, because they’re paying for something that really puts them ahead of the game. And that it’s really about adding things to your resume. So good question Is the student in schools that pay, but at the end of the day where this goes in the future, it really should be the system as a whole that pays because you brought up the main point, there are healthcare shortages. So when we approach a hospital to train our students, we’re constantly trying to negotiate to bring the cost down to the students school, the closer we can get to them hiring that professional because we all know that health systems are paying a lot short term and long term to attract talent to address workforce challenges. And in the near term, they’re starting to realize more and more that investing in education and training is really the long term strategy. So I, we spoke again, in five years, I would love to tell you, the healthcare systems are paying for this. And everyone that trains is getting employed to continue the cycle.

george grombacher 11:40
Yeah, yeah, that certainly does make sense. Even greater sense that if I’m a healthcare system that has a need for nurses, if I were also able to design the curriculum, and give them the training that I wanted them to have, I could then have them work in my healthcare system, it would be a virtuous cycle.

Kyle Swinsky 12:02
Exactly, exactly.

george grombacher 12:04
So what have been, obviously, I don’t know how many companies like AEM opportunities there are out there. But I imagine you were one of the first that’s trying to do this. Maybe you still are, what what were some of the big challenges to getting adoption, getting getting it started.

Kyle Swinsky 12:21
So travel was the first one, really building up our Visa Services and helping students really getting into the country. Doing a 10 years now it’s really become. That’s that’s not as big of a problem. I think the the other problem is really just convincing health systems to train more. Because I mean, physicians, nurses, they’re busy, especially during the pandemic, and the burnout is real, and convincing physicians to train students at more some times can be difficult. But the value proposition is really strong. So I’d say like the greatest challenge really is sometimes building the training itself. And that’s where it really comes down to the value proposition, which is the workforce challenges. And sometimes I’d say that the third challenge, at the end of the day to is more, aside from the travel, find the sites, I think it’s also finding the right sites. So a big issue right now, maybe OB GYN or pediatrics. Students are having a lot of difficulty find some of those types of specialties. And it’s really, even the schools that you would think, Oh, that’s a famous school, they have those, they don’t have those rotations right now, sometimes. So I think the biggest challenge is all at the end of the day are about getting the students to train the knee because if they can’t get that one rotation, it puts them a year back from graduating. And that puts our workforce shortage fund senator from the center.

george grombacher 13:47
How frustrating like literally, if you were to make the investment of, of going to medical school have time, attention and money and your heart and soul into it and you’re being delayed just because you can’t get a rotation that gosh, that would drive me freaking crazy.

Kyle Swinsky 14:07
There is hope, though. I mean, I hope that I had in the last three years, even through the pandemic we grew each year, in terms of number of students, we helped a number of sites that we manage, and we you don’t think that’d be a shrinking time because that was when healthcare systems were closing their doors. Students were not traveling, we couldn’t fly anywhere. But just the sheer demand and the sheer need. It gives me a lot of hope, actually, because I think that there’s a lot I don’t like to think of it as like a tunnel. I just think that it’s getting better and better. The more that people see it. Yeah,

george grombacher 14:43
yeah, it certainly does make sense. But just because something makes sense. Kyle doesn’t mean that it’s always going to work the way that we want it to. So how have you run into political headwinds of like immigration issues with one party says we don’t want any people coming into the country, anything like that.

Kyle Swinsky 15:00
We have. And I think one of the nice things about doing this now for 10 years is that we’ve seen a lot. You know, when we started the company, there was a lot of things going on around the world. You know, four years ago, we had ups and downs too, and the pandemic, and just the, what we have seen is that healthcare education, and you know, they, they’re kind of at this, not just recession proof, but also in the way that we know, we need health care, education. And even from the perspective of bringing international doctors to the United States. We all we do agree that’s really important. There definitely have been issues before, of course, when we aren’t allowed to travel from one country to the other, or currency issues have been sometimes an issue where the dollar right now is very strong, and a lot of countries, that’s always going to happen up and down. But we always will need health care, we’re always going to need training, education. And those two industries, they can’t fail. It’s more about the short term issues. So when the pandemic started, the first month of the pandemic, the business went like this and shut down for about a month in terms of things, but we introduced virtual training, and things by July, we’re back to the best in over two years, because as soon as we open the doors to a real need, everyone came back in. So it’s a good question about the things that can hurt us. But I always find hope and the fact that there’ll be the ups and downs, but it’s kind of like the kind of going up and open up

george grombacher 16:33
our standards, and I don’t know if that’s the right term or not, or being able to be next to a physician physically is probably invaluable. But it’s also amazing through our current through new technology coming out, that does make the experience virtual. How is how is that trending changing?

Kyle Swinsky 16:56
It’s opening doors, it’s allowing for more access to education, and augmenting education. But there are still core educational outcomes that you need to be in person for. So in virtual training, the way we do is a student would join in the laptop, do the learning with the patient and the physician who would be in a different room, whether the physicians different than the patients or patient physician together and student different room. And after the patient’s student and physician together, they get out. And that’s when the physician would ask them questions and make sure they’re learning the material, you can get a lot out of that. But of course, being in the room, seeing all the things that you’ve seen in person, obviously, you get a lot more. And what that means is that there are certain things that we can do online and virtual, and there are certain things we can and what we’ve seen in the creditors and the way schools have been doing it. Things that require bedside manner, you know, being next to the bed, or how to speak with the patient directly face to face, those things are still required to be in person. But there are certain things early on in medical school that really are just about getting, you know the that the basic science, things like that can be virtual. So in in a lot of ways it’s helped us because some education now is shifting virtual, and it’s allowing more people to do it. But it’s also shedding light on the fact that the universal piece is required. And for some components flow.

george grombacher 18:23
Cool. Makes sense. I think you mentioned pediatrics and OB medicine are those what are some of the areas that are really most in need.

Kyle Swinsky 18:34
I mean, peds feet has been tough. I mean, when the pandemic hit the ICUs were utilize, really a lot in terms of you see every hospital talking about how many ICU beds they had left, and they started taking the beds away from the pediatric units. So pediatricians didn’t have enough clinical space for their own patients, let alone teach. So there was a shortage of Pediatrics training. Same thing with OB GYN, baby deliveries. And now you’re seeing it again with the RSV the respiratory virus where if you ever see professional doctors get pulled into something like that, that directly affects the training because it takes their time away from training students. OB GYN is tough, especially because in rural health care in America. It’s harder to find OB GYN physicians, you always find those stories where if you’re in a rural city, you may have to travel 30 miles to find that first OB GYN doctor because of shortages. So that’s the imbalance there where we just don’t have enough. And that’s the that’s that’s healthcare shortage is hurting us, of course.

george grombacher 19:39
Fascinating. Okay, well, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you and am opportunities?

Kyle Swinsky 19:46
Appreciate George just www that em opportunities that org is the website that schools clinical sites that want to teach as well as students they can find out more about us can always reach out I will get you in front of the right person. And we’re, we’re about 40 employees here in Chicago. And really, it’s it’s another growth year this year, so very excited to help more and more students than ever before. Yeah, love it.

george grombacher 20:12
If you enjoyed as much as I did show your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend that also appreciates good ideas. Go to a m opportunities was that.org co.org. Exactly. So am just the two letters A than M and the word opportunities dot o RG and check out all the cool stuff that Kyle and the team are working on and how they’re working to solve one of the biggest problems that we’re facing that most people don’t know about. Thanks again, Kyle.

Kyle Swinsky 20:41
Thank you so much, and really appreciate this. Thank you.

george grombacher 20:45
Till next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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