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New Online Cyber Journal Club Platform Launched

I am thrilled to share that we have launched the world’s first journal club of tomorrow bringing a 200 year-old mainstay of medical education into the 21st century.

For the first time, using the latest in video technology, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) participated in a live online transcontinental Journal Club for practicing physicians, academics and students. The Journal Club Live™ platform featured a ten-way discussion of fellows and professors from the USA, Europe, and India well as the article’s author.  Free open video group chat is a mainstay of gamers worldwide – now this technology transforms medical education.

Every physician and scientist used journal clubs during their training to learn the latest breakthroughs in their field and to lean how to critically read research.  Unfortunately once they finish their training this beloved tool is lost.  Even worse, skyrocketing responsibilities and workloads are cannibalizing the time previously reserved for journal clubs in even the best academic institutions.

Since the 1800’s Journal Clubs, or closed research critique sessions have been a mainstay of medical research and education. With the launch of the Online Cyber Journal Club™ platform, the conversation among academics, patients and students can be shared worldwide and disseminated in real time.

The reader of the journal can now become part of an ongoing, dynamic, live discussion that enhances the value of the original research.  With this effort, we have bridged the gap separating the digital and traditional medical literature and embraced the global technological future of medicine. This integration will lead to exciting new directions in research.

The sessions are archived and accessible to anyone anywhere.  No fees, no registration, no membership , no subscriptions, and no firewalls.  The first international one is at http://fertstertforum.com/journalclubmarch2013/ and the first test proof of concept is at http://fertstertforum.com/journalclubfeb2013/  These were fertility-based discussions on controversial subjects related to the best medications to use to prepare the uterus for pregnancy and the best timing of embryo development – however the platform works equally well across all specialties and disciplines.

An online real-time live journal club has never taken place before. We are very excited about this new digital expansion of what has been a mainstay of medical research and education, now taken into the 21st century as a powerful new teaching tool for physicians and patients.

The entire event was live-streamed on YouTube using technology from Google with custom modifications from the Journal Club Live™ platform and was open to comments and questions and free participation from anyone around the world.

I knew we were onto a great idea when I performed our initial needs assessment.  Even informally discussing the idea among fellows and professors led to an excitement I had not seen for any other on-line educational venture.  They were clamoring to have the first one and fighting to join in.  I followed this with a formal survey of the trainees and program directors in our specialty and found 100% support for the concept.  A majority went so far as to say they would even make participation manditory for those in their department.

The Three classical goals of Journal Clubs:

  1. to keep up with the cutting new developments in your field
  2. to learn to classical references from the past
  3. to learn how to critically read new research and decide how to critique them

Today’s New barriers to medical education and journal clubs:

  1. There is an exponential increase in the number of new high quality research publications but less time to read them
  2. There are more journals than ever but less funds to subscribe to them
  3. The departmental journal clubs of the past are largely gone – victims of shrinking budgets and time
  4. Physicians have less time and money to attend local or national medical meetings

New Opportunities of the Journal Club Live™ Platform- the Online Cyber Journal Club™ Platform:

  1. all of the opportunities of traditional journal clubs
  2. 24/7 365 access to video archives of the discussions
  3. an international community of participants building collaboration
  4. direct access to the leading experts in the field
  5. ability to be mentored by experts from around the world
  6. collaborative discussions between physicians patients and industry
  7. for the first time ever participation by the journal article’s  author

Not unexpectedly the top benefits of participation as ranked by trainees from the needs assessment survey were:

  1. keep up with the latest research
  2. learn the classical references
  3. interact regularly and network with fellows from other programs
  4. have an opportunity to personally interact with leading professors from other departments
  5. learn how to critique research studies
  6. develop collaborations for new projects

What was so rewarding was to see how much all the participants enjoyed coming together with this new platform.  “This was a terrific way to share results and to discuss an article. I learned a lot more by actually being able to interact with people from different places and the author and moderators than I would have just sitting in a cold room even though my colleagues are wonderful,” said Dr Kurt Barnhart, William Shippen, Jr. Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania, Associate Editor of Fertility and Sterility, and a participant in the event.

Happily , the same reaction came from the author who had the never to sit in the hot seat and defend her research.  The author of the study discussed participates in the event as well. “It was great. Sometimes when you have your article critiqued…you learn something about your research that you had not thought about before,” said Dr Elizabeth Ginsberg, Medical Director, Assisted Reproductive Technologies, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School.

Further information is available at Journal Club Live

More information about Dr Steven Palter, MD the creator of the Journal Club Live™ Platform is at Gold Coast IVF where he is the Medical and Scientific Director .  He is the Video and New Media Editor for Fertility and Sterility an Elsevier Journal .

Link to the press release from ASRM is here

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