What is a journal club?
A journal club as defined by Milbrandt and Vincent (Critical Care 2004) is a group of individuals who meet regularly to evaluate critically the clinical application of recent articles in the medical literature. The first journal club meeting took place at McGill University in Montreal and dates back to 1875.
What is Twitter?
Twitter on the other hand is an information network made up of 140 – character messages called Tweets. It’s an easy way to discover the latest news related to subjects you care about. Currently according to STATISTA there are approximately 305 monthly million active users.
The Twitter social media platform lends itself very easily to professional interaction and the dissemination of information on a global scale. Healthcare professionals on Twitter have successfully identified and are succeeding in using this platform for journal club discussion.
Add Journal Clubs and Twitter together and what do you get?
A powerful interaction and a huge amount of engagement which is extremely valuable.
Increased number of participants which connects people of like interest, including the ability to interact directly with authors of scientific publications
Broader knowledge and experiences that take learning to a higher level
Fresh perspective on clinical issues with potential solutions from physicians from other institutions
PubMed (the searchable database of biomedical citations and abstracts free resource that provides access to MEDLINE) has dedicated a section entitled PubMed Commons Journal Club. In this section it lists traditional and virtual formats of journal clubs.
Here are just some examples of present day twitter journal clubs included in their list.
Geriatric Medicine Journal Club (University of Toronto, with Twitter – based Journal Club) ::: GeriMedJC (@GeriMedJC) Geriatric Medicine Journal Club Blog
RheumJC – Rheumatology Twitter – Based Journal Club ::: #RheumJC (Rheum Journal Club @RheumJC)
IGSJC – The International General Surgery Journal Club – Twitter-based journal club ::: #IGSJC ::: @igsjc
NephJC – Nephrology Journal Club – Twitter – based journal club :::: #NephJC (Nephrology Jrnl Club @NephJC)
Others I came across in my research but that are not included in the PubMed Commons Journal Club list include the following:
#JHMChat – J Hospital Medicine (@JHospMedicine)
#Rsjc – Resp&Sleep JC (@respandsleepjc)
#EASTjc – Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma East(@EASTjournalclub)
#NCSTJC – Neurocritical Care Society (@neurocritical)
#MSFjc – Medicines sans Frontieres / Doctors with our Borders (@MSFsci)
#BlueJC – The Blue Journal Club: An International Women’s Health Journal Club (BlueJCHost @BlueJCHost)
#RadOnc – Radiation Nation – Collaborative conversations in radiation Oncology (@Rad_Nation)
#ResNetSLT – ReSNet – Research Support Network (@Hazel Roddam1)
#Gpjc – GPjournalclub(UK) (@GPjournalclub)
#MedRadJClub The twitter journal club for medical radiation professional everywhere
#Ebnjc – Evidence Based Nursing Twitter Journal Club (@EBNursingBMJ)
#Urojc – International Urology Journal Club Urology JC (@iurojc)
#Radres – ACR American College of Radiology – ACR Resident and Fellow Journal Club – Journal Club Resident & Fellow Section ACR RFS (@ACRRFS)
#Hpm – The Journal Club for hospice, palliative medicine, palliative care (run by @kesleeman Journal Club @hpmJC)
Or you can find a hashtag on your medical topic of interest on Symplur – Twitter Journal Club Hashtags. Select a hashtag of interest and then just type in that hashtag in Twitter to find the conversations.
What have we learned so far from these Twitter Journal Clubs? The ACR (American College of Radiology) Twitter Journal Club, based on their experience, has posted on their blog valuable learning points.
Decide on a manageable frequency – keeping the Twitter Journal Club active and up to date but also identify an ideal frequency of journal club meetings. This will be vital in order to maintain the viability and sustainability.
Identify timely themes – identify hot topics? Policy issues?
Have a strategic pr in place (sending email reminders for example) – need to remind people of journal club time and date and if possible articles to read before hand.
Invite expert guests – this is a major driving force – having the ability to interact directly with authors of scientific publications would also be valuable.
Have a passionate moderator to encourage a collegial discourse.
Have a support network – feel free to reach out to participants for help and support – this will also grow your journal club and keep it sustainable.
Patient and persistence – reliability through full and well organized journal clubs will keep participates coming back.
Community practice is also being shared via scientific publications. The scientific publications based on experiences, collaborative learning and knowledge sharing allows to open channels of understanding among healthcare professionals.
Social Media, in particular Twitter, provides a potential for enormous international communication that has not been possible before now. Traditional Journal clubs in other fields can follow the examples of well established Twitter Journal Clubs to revitalize their journal clubs while at the same time foster and grow their international relationships.