Monday, November 29, 2010

Model for a Journal Club using Google Reader and Facebook OR if the prophet does not go to the Mountain.... bring the journal club to FB!

Create a collaborative learning environment for discussing key journal articles for our residency program.

Proposed solution:
Create an automated method for posting key journal articles to an online discussion group.  Each article abstract should be a separate post in the forum with space for comments.

With tighter duty hour restrictions, going online might be more acceptable.
Most residents use social networking (e.g. Facebook) and have Google accounts - so our solution should try and leverage these 2.
It would be more likely to succeed if we go to where the energy is (Facebook) rather than create a new site with a new log in.
A few faculty members or Chief Residents would take on the task of filtering and selecting the articles.
Model for using Google Reader and Facebook Groups for an Internal Medicine Journal Club

  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!
Screenshot of the Journal Club in a Closed Facebook Group

Google Reader
Subscribe to important medicine journals with one click (you can also click on the button in the right column of this blog)
Facebook Groups
RSS Graffiti Blog and RSS Graffiti FB app


  1. Thanks for this post. I just activated RSS feeds from my google account for our facebook group - 'Important Articles in Medicine'. Our group of 800+ people is a good mix of Internal Medicine residents, medical students and public health students. I and a few others have been posting interesting articles for the group's perusal. However, I realized that people are unwilling to have a discussion on such a media- may be because of lack of confidence in opinions, fear of being judged or they may not be interested in spending spare time reading medical literature.

    We welcome your suggestions to improve the utility of this group as a forum for discussion. We will be glad to have you on-board as a moderator if you are interested in trying various models of encouraging people to stay updated with medical literature.

  2. @Kaustubh Thanks for your comments. Having >800 members in the group is pretty good. A lot of them are possibly there to view rather than contribute.