ECG Academy

Some time back the LITFL team came across the, created by American electrophysiologist Dr Nick Tullo. Nick had generously made a sizable portion of content freely accessible to everyone on his Youtube channel. We were sufficiently impressed that we made an ECG Academy collection within our own ECG Library so that we could find them when we needed them.

But is more than just a few free videos. I recently got the chance to check it out in its full glory, thanks to a temporary free subscription. Let’s get on with ‘The good, the bad and the ugly” review LITFL-style.

(I think that’s Dr Nick in his slightly younger days on the right)

What ECG Academy is all about

The  ECG Academy is an online video-based course designed to quickly teach you how to expertly interpret an electrocardiogram at your own pace.

  • Easy to understand video lessons in ECG interpretation
  • Step by step instruction from basic to intermediate, and ultimately to advanced level (coming soon)
  • Learn from an electrophysiologist (Not to be sniffed at – I have never actually met an electrophysiologist in person in the Australia/ New Zealand health systems!)
  • Weekly practice “ChalkTalk” lessons (think Khan Academy for medical professionals!)

The Good

  • Dr Nick is a master educator with an easy manner and friendly sense of humour, as well as a true ECG expert.
  • The videos are superbly produced, mimicking the best bedside pen and paper teaching sessions. However the videos have a major advantages – a bona fide expert teacher, no interruptions, and the ability to revisit topics whenever you want. This is ‘asynchronous learning’ at its best.
  • The intermediate syllabus covers everything in the basic section (basic physics, leads, vectors, cardiac physiology, conduction blocks, premature beats, as well as atrial and ventricular tachycardias) as well as more advanced topics including axis interpretation, atrial abnormalities, ventricular hypertrophy, hemiblocks and bundle branch blocks, ischemia and ST abnormalities. This is ideal for advanced medical students and RMOs, as well as junior registrars looking for revision or to fill in a few of the gaps (that we all have!).
  • As someone who teaches others how to interpret ECGs, seeing Dr Nick in action is a real boon. I’ll be recycling some of his approaches to tricky-to-explain ECG concepts for sure!

The Bad

  • The annoying thing about these ECG Academy videos is how much I still seem to learn from them even thought they are supposedly ‘below my level’…
  • Hmm, not much else that I could find… Bring on the Advanced syllabus ASAP!

The Ugly

  • Subscription isn’t free – you can find out all the details here. There are different levels of subscription based on degree of advancement: basic (9 hours of video) is $99.95/month $19.95/month and intermediate (14 hours of video) is $139.95/month $24.95/month. Alternatively you can just subscribe to the weekly ChalkTalk sessions at $14.95/month $9.95/month, or get additional savings on an annual membership.
    (Editor’s note 15/8/2012: Note that the price has come down considerably since this review was first written. There is now also a modular course with a Certificate of Completion for CME credit)

The Last Word

  • If you buy into the ‘asynchronous learning’ revolution (like us at LITFL) you can’t beat the for quality ECG education. Check out sample videos here. Great work Dr. Nick!

Conflict of interest statement
This review of was made possible by a temporary subscription provided free of charge by ECG Academy. The LITFL team has no financial or other interests in this educational venture.

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  1. Duncan says

    Not that I question the expertise and work involved, but $100-140 a month for ECG tuition? It might be an important part of my job, but it’s only one of hundreds of competing parts. It represents (at least to an emergency doctor) atrocious value when compared to something like a $300 textbook which is useful for several years.

    • says

      Thanks for the comment Duncan
      For people who don’t have access to expert teachers this kind of learning cannot be obtained in any other way -- certainly not from a textbook.
      The free videos from ECG Academy give people ample opportunity to try before they buy -- it is then up to the individual to decide whether it is value for money. There is a reason why we mentioned the subscription fees in the ‘ugly’ section!
      In practice, I could imagine someone signing up for a month to work through the videos and revisit them a couple of times, then maybe signing up again a year later for a month to recap. Of course this has to be weighted against the free resources available (e.g. Amal Mattu’s talks on Free Emergency Talks and his videos on MedEDMasters as well as LITFL’s ECG Library and Dr Smith’s ECG blog).
      I also understand that ECG Academy is working on building a CME component and an interactive online teaching platform.
      Obviously at LITFL we are dedicated to providing free, high quality online education -- but we are certainly interested in the different educational modalities and platforms that are being developed around the world… And when we see something that’s good we like to tell people about it.
      All the best,

  2. says

    Hi, Chris. One of the difficult nursing concepts that I’ve encountered is learning how to read ECG. I do hope I can learn from this. Thanks for the post.

  3. says

    Hi LITFLers,
    Apparently the prices I originally quoted were out of date. I have amended the quoted prices above -- the current prices are considerably cheaper.
    Nick Tullo currently envisages subscriptions to work like this:
    “…my intention is to have viewers subscribe for only a month or two, until they are familiar with my physiologic approach to ECGs. Then they can switch their subscription to just the ChalkTalks (at a much lower cost), which keep them on their toes.”
    Anyway, regardless of whether they decide to subscribe or not, ECG beginners are well advised to watch the video tutorials that ECG Academy has made free to view.

  4. Duncan says

    Still expensive! While I sort of get that model, it doesn’t make sense. What’s the point of a monthly subscription if you think people should sign up for only a month or two a year? I’ve seen some of the free tasters -- I agree they are very good. I expect there is a sweeter price point both in terms of larger amount of income and higher number of subscribers. For what it’s worth, my feedback to the site is that they are very high quality but I won’t go near it at that price.

  5. says

    As the creator of and the author of all the video tutorials, I wanted to let those LITFL readers who might have been interested that I have markedly reduced the subscription price to as low as $10 per month. I have tried to make the website even better by creating a modular “course” with quizzes and a final exam, which now acknowledges your efforts with continuing education credit hours. I feel that my approach to teaching ECG interpretation is unique among courses available on the internet, and I decided to make it VERY affordable so hopefully more physicians, nurses, and students can take advantage of it. Thank you all for your feedback.

    • NIKKI LYNNE says

      DR NICK!!!
      After 37 years of nursing your program has proved to be the most informative,easy to follow and makes you “click” when nothing else has.
      I just completed another Cardiac Seminar and was introduced to your program on You-Tube.They are amazing and the staff loves them. Short, Sweet and to the point.
      As so much changes in the field of Nursing,we have to stay on our toes.New drugs and disease processes definitely change heart patterns.You are very informative on all we need to know.
      Thank you for this wonderful site that allows us to keep up on ECG INTERPRETATION.
      Forever hooked on your site.

  6. says

    Cool post. Love the picture for the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. This was very informative and exposed me to another great educational academy in the art of ECG/EKG technology. Really appreciate it!

  7. Darpan says

    I am a cardiovascular fellow who came across LITFL and love all the ECG information I have learned from this website. This then led me to come across Dr. Tullo’s ECG Academy website and I must say I was pleasantly surprised at how good the videos were and how thorough Dr. Nick was throughout each and every one of his videos. He put the science/physiology behind all those squiggly lines we know as ECG’s. As a budding (future) electrophysiologist I find his website very helpful. In fact the only reason I cancelled my subscription after two months was that I was ready for the advanced course -- which I cannot wait to be released! Dr. Tullo is a superb teacher and I give this website Two Thumbs Up and 5 stars for the affordability and teaching value!