What is twitter? 

Twitter is a micro-blogging platform that enables users to send and read messages of up to 140 characters, known as 'tweets'.  It has more than 500 million registered users, generating over 340 million tweets per day. 

What is #quclms?

A Twitter-based educational intervention to encourage discussion and debate; use and critique of evidence; self-directed and peer-led learning in UCL Undergraduate Medical Students. 

A framework is provided by UCL Medical School staff - including clinicians, scientists, ethicists, and educators. At the start of the week brief details of a case are posed on the website www.quclms.com and an initial question is sent out as a tweet. Each week different subjects are drawn from across the curriculum, drawing together multiple disciplines. The questions may be posed by a junior doctor, supported by a Consultant or academic. 

During the week discussions take place on Twitter, using the hashtag #quclms. Students, clinicians and patients outside UCL who use Twitter, can join in. This opens up the discussion and extends the reach of the medical school, encouraging collaboration and team-working amongst students and healthcare professionals. At the end of each week the Twitter discussions are curated (using storify) and a link posted on the website www.quclms.com with a collection of links and resources relevant to the discussions ie guidelines from the GMC, Royal Colleges, academic papers and online resources. An expert summary is posted, giving a balanced and informed answer to the original questions posed on Twitter during the week. This expert comment is written in collaboration with the project team and the original question setter.  

Example themes might include: 

  • what is the most appropriate fluid regime in sepsis?
  • should all men >65 be screened with PSA? 
  • is it professional for doctors to be anonymous on social media?  
  • should all patients with suspected appendicitis undergo abdominal CT?

Why have we launched #quclms?

Case of the Month is a highly successful programme of interactive cases completed by final year medical students, hosted on Moodle, UCL's virtual learning environment. An area which has had less uptake than hoped for is the forum area. By using social media, we hope to facilitate discussion and peer-led learning. We particularly hope to encourage students to seek out and critique evidence using online resources: enhancing their digital literacy and critical thinking skills and sharing these techniques with us and their peers.

How can you get involved in #quclms?

Getting involved is easy and does not require you to be familiar with Twitter or have a Twitter account, although we hope to convert some of you to the potential benefits of these tools. There is great interest in doctors' use of social media, with supplementary guidance produced to Good Medical Practice 2013 from the GMC published very recently. 

For more information please have a look at the website and follow @quclms on Twitter. 

As a junior doctor your input in very valuable. If you are not yet a Registrar you need to find a friendly Consultant who will work with you to provide the 'expert comment.' Please get in touch so that we can provide you with an example format and a structured form to complete so that you can submit your question for the next phase of #quclms launching in September 2013