The last decade has seen an increased focus on the use of social media for medical education. Twitter, with over 330 million active users, is the most popular social media platform for medical education. We describe here our recent initiative to establish a weekly online gastroenterology-focused journal club on Twitter.
How was the idea conceived?
Sultan Mahmood, MD (@SultanMahmoodMD)
I joined #GITwitter at the end of 2019 and started following some of the leading experts in the field of gastroenterology and hepatology. It was a pleasant surprise to see how easy it was to engage with them and get expert opinions from across the world in real time. #MondayNightIBD, led by Aline Charabaty, MD, had become a phenomenon in the GI community and changed the perception of medical education in the digital world. There were online journal clubs for different medical subspecialties, including #NephroJC, #HOJournalClub, and #DermJC, but none for gastroenterology. Realizing this opportunity, and with guidance from Dr. Charabaty, we startedin December of 2019 with weekly discussions.
@GiJournal started off as an informal discussion in which we would post a summary of the article and invite an expert in the field to comment. However, the interest in the journal club quickly took off as we gained more followers and a worldwide audience joined our journal club discussions on a weekly basis. As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and endoscopy suites around the word closed, interest in online medical education grew. @GIJournal provided a platform for trainees and practicing physicians alike to stay up to date with the latest publications from the comfort of their homes. Needless to say, the journal club has evolved since its inception in that we now work with a team of experts and trainees who run the journal club on a rotating basis.
How does @GiJournal work?
Ijlal Akbar Ali, MD (@IjlalAkbar)
We have a large editorial board with volunteer faculty and trainees, all divided into four special interest groups (general GI/inflammatory bowel disease, interventional endoscopy/bariatric endoscopy, hepatology, and esophageal/motility disorders). Each week, a faculty member and a trainee pick a recently published article from a high-impact GI-focused journal. We also try to invite an expert of international repute (often the authors of the article themselves!) to engage as well. The faculty moderator and invited expert then work with the trainee to plan the session content. We post the topic and article on Monday. At 8 p.m. EST on Wednesday, the trainee posts a series of six to eight tweets summarizing the article. The faculty then asks the invited expert (and audience at large) a series of predetermined questions. Anyone can respond, share their opinion, and direct their own questions toward the moderator and expert who continually check their notifications and respond in real time. This brews into an hour-long discussion which covers not only the methodologic aspects of the article, but clinical practice in general. Discussions often trickle into the next day as people from different time zones participate. Everyone uses #GIJC at the end of their tweets which assists those following the article and facilitates indexing for future review. For those who miss or want to review sessions, we conveniently summarize all articles and corresponding discussions in a monthly publication, @GiJournal Digest, that is posted on Twitter for anyone to download, read and enjoy (Figure 1).