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How Doctors Bring a Journal Club Online | Online Journal Club Guidelines

Jul 30, 2020
What Is an Online Journal Club?

You’ve probably heard of a journal club.

A journal club is a regular gathering of scientists to discuss a scientific paper found in a research journal. One or two members of the club present a summary of the chosen paper that the whole group has read. Then, the discussion begins.

But did you know that doctors are now bringing their journal clubs online? Thousands of healthcare practitioners (HCPs) can now participate in the conversation rather than a mere dozen or so.

You may have heard something about NephJC, or #NephJC, a nephrology journal club on Twitter. In 2014, two nephrologists, Drs. Natalie Silvey and Fi Douglas, decided to leverage the speed, reach, and accessibility of social media to host a nephrology journal club. NephJC and other online journal clubs agree to “meet” on Twitter at a pre-selected date and time. Drs. Silvey and Douglas tweet out nephrology research, guidelines, or editorials with the hashtag #NephJC, and the club discussion begins. As with a traditional in-person journal club, NephJC recommends that participants read the article or study to be discussed beforehand.

Unlike traditional journal clubs, online journal clubs offer Medical Affairs (MA) a seat at the table. If the online journal club is public as NephJC’s events are, MA personnel can monitor the conversation. TweetDeck is a popular tool for monitoring these and other threaded Twitter discussions. Click here to read the official TweetDeck tutorial.

That said, most Medical Affairs teams cannot participate compliantly in online journal clubs. No replies, comments, questions, or answers. But where online journal clubs benefit MA is the insight generation. With TweetDeck, MA teams or their medical operations partners can quickly view the opinions of hundreds, even thousands of doctors reading the same article.

The Online Journal Club Movement

Drs. Silvey and Douglas started a medical education movement. Since NephJC proved successful, other HCPs are starting or bringing their own journal clubs onto social media. Usually, the founder is an individual who wants to build an audience that eventually views them as a thought leader in their practice area.

As a Medical Affairs leader, you can find out if there are any online journal clubs in your therapeutic area. If so, assign team members or work with a partner to monitor every conversation and gather useful insights that impact your strategy.

And if this article has you wanting to learn more about starting an online journal club, check out the official NephJC guide, a free e-book entitled #NephJC Primer on Twitter Journal Clubs.

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