Grand Rounds in Medical Education: Tweet Away!

Alexander Mark Djuricich* Alexander Mark Djuricich*, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, United States

Track: Practice
Presentation Topic: Collaborative biomedical research, academic / scholarly communication, publishing and peer review
Presentation Type: Rapid-Fire Presentation
Submission Type: Single Presentation

Building: Joseph B. Martin Conference Center at Harvard Medical School
Room: C-Rotunda Room
Date: 2012-09-16 09:00 AM – 09:45 AM
Last modified: 2012-09-12

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With the advent of microblogging forms of social media such as Twitter, disseminating information to others in short segments has become easier. The use of Twitter during medical conferences or meetings has been previously described. One such conference common in academic medical centers is Grand Rounds. Grand Rounds has been a tradition for educating physicians in many specialties for many years. Despite adult learning theory models which suggest that didactic lecture formats may not be ideal for optimal learning, Grand Rounds continues in a traditional format, commonly as a one-hour lecture from an “expert” to the learner audience members, who are usually medical students, physicians-in-training, or attending physicians, as well as nurses and other health care professionals.
Similar to other conferences, logistical challenges surrounding Grand Rounds include the fact that clinicians are busy, and patient care duties are usually prioritized. Thus, if one misses the dedicated time for Grand Rounds, or the presentation is not videotaped for potential later viewing, the opportunity for learning is lost. The author sought to determine if microblogging of material presented in Grand Rounds would have any impact.

The author, a teaching physician at a large midwestern United States academic medical center, used Twitter to disseminate information live during departmental Grand Rounds to his Twitter followers for numerous Grand Rounds sessions in 2011 and 2012. Grand Rounds occurred on Wednesday mornings, 8 am – 9 am, during eastern standard time. Key points mentioned during the one-hour sessions were summarized and tweeted out live during the sessions, with a reference to the speaker provided with every tweet. The author reviewed the number of tweets per every one-hour Grand Rounds session and sought to determine the impact of tweeting Grand Rounds.

The average number of tweets per Grand Rounds session was 15. Every tweeted Grand Rounds presentation session had at least one comment or retweet by followers. Some of these tweets were later retweeted by followers of the original followers. Tweeted comments from followers reflected clarification of the original tweet, agreement or disagreement with the tweeted statements, with the vast majority being agreement with the tweets. In addition, other audience members with Twitter accounts tweeted similar material in a few of the Grand Rounds.

Similar to what might occur during a national or regional medical conference, tweeting during a local Grand Rounds can disseminate key medical content information to other health care professionals, learners in medical education and patients. The opportunity to reach more than a local audience exists with the use of this microblogging technique.

Future Implications
Potential for online dialogue around medical topics exists, and should be explored. Future research will focus on the extent to which physicians could put received tweeted information into practice (knowledge translation). This area of tweeting during Grand Rounds conferences, similar to national or regional medical conferences, is ripe for future endeavors within continuing medical education.

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