Social Media for Medical Education

The brilliant Neil Mehta, on his blog Technology in (Medical) Education, has presented a wonderful way of using Google reader and Facebook as a tool for medical education, in the form of a Journal Club. Here is an outline:


And here is a summary of the method:


  1. Faculty member/Chief Residents set up Google Reader accounts
  2. Subscribe to RSS feeds for some selected Journals in their specialty.
  3. Periodically (at least weekly) review the feeds and share some of the most relevant articles in Google Reader
  4. Find the RSS feed for their shared items list
  5. Create a Group in Facebook (possibly a closed group so only members can view and comment)
  6. Authorize the Facebook Application RSS Graffiti for this Group. (only group admins can do this)
  7. Create a feed in RSS Graffiti with the RSS feed of the shared items list
  8. Ensure that specific settings are modified and test for the posts to show up within about 30 minutes.
    1. You have to authorize RSS Graffiti for your Facebook account before it will work on your Facebook Group.
    2. You have to be the admin for that FB group
    3. Edit the feed and under the Filter tab, make sure you change to date to when there are some items to show.  By default it is set to the time of creation of the feed in RSS Graffiti
    4. Edit the feed and under the More tab, make sure you are posting as yourself and not as the Group.
  9. Invite/add members to the Group.
  10. Enjoy!

Obviously, I am yet to try this out, but seeing how the TwitJC and CSJC Online movements have gained momentum rapidly, I think this could really be a great way forward. As I write this post, it is pretty late at night and hence I am a bit mentally and physically wrung out to go through the trouble of making a journal club FB group. But I shall try it out tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I have a few questions for you:

  • Have any of you used this kind of a system?
  • What are your concerns regarding using Facebook, a rather social and informal platform for something as rigidly regimented as a medical education tool?
  • What problems do you anticipate on initiating such a journal club or academic interest group?
  • Would you be interested in being a part of such a social experiment if someone else (AKA me) were to take care of the nuts and bolts of setting it up?

6 thoughts on “Social Media for Medical Education

  1. I am not sure if you are on Google Plus, but if you are, here’s another thought to extend the concept that Neil and you have put across. Pick up an article, write about it, then gather about ten friends who are genuinely interested to discuss the article. Start a Google plus hangout session, and work through the article as fully as possible. For additional benefit, keep a record of the sessions using a screen capture tool such as manycam and video capture tool for future reference or post on your blog.
    Arin Basu, New Zealand


    1. To be honest, I am still non-plussed, but it sounds like a fantastic idea and can be worth a shot. I will try to round up a group of friends to see if this can be worked out… however, bandwidth restrictions and lower internet speeds are a major deterrent for any video based interactions in our country (unless an unlimited+high speed plan, which tend to be more expensive, are used by the users)…


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