- School/Institute/Department: Barts MS Research group, Centre for Neuroscience and Trauma, Blizard Institute
- Subjects: Multiple Sclerosis, Blogging
- Audience: Patients, Clinicians
The Barts MS Research Blog disseminates research from the Barts Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Research group at QMUL, and collaborating research groups, providing a direct communication between QMUL researchers and a global patient community of readers through daily posts.
The blog attracts approximately 6,000-9,000 readers a day, with over 180,000 views a month. Users can directly communicate with the research team and interact with posts through comment functions, which receive an average of 10-20 comments per post, rising to up to 72 comments in popular topics. This interaction is encouraged through features such as Q&A sections.
The audience also includes other clinicians who use the blog as an information resource for new information and pharmaceutical companies. Health professionals also use the blog to understand and explain information to their patients.
This continual dialogue with the patient community has influenced the direction of the Barts MS Research group by focussing it on matters which concern the patient community (nerve repair and symptom control).The blog also allows for patient feed in throughout research, acting as an advisory board for consultation.
Content from the blog has now been developed into a resource “Clinic Speak” to provide information for patients that explains medical issues and procedures such as the Lumbar Puncture (LP) procedure and EDSS online assessment. This seeks to empower patients by providing further information about what to expect, what to ask and answers to possible questions.
The Clinic Speak project is fuelled by blog content and acts as a method to ensure that learning is recorded over time for other health providers and patients to use in the treatment and management of MS. The content is developed in consultation through the blog and can adapt to changing data, treatment regulations and patient feedback.
In 2013 the blog authors were invited to run the ‘Social Media Sessions’ at the The European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) conference. Here they ran the first of an annual series of ‘Burning Debates’ in which two speakers debate a key topic, live streamed through the blog, with the chance to participate in a vote via twitter (#BurningDebate).
You can view the Barts MS Team blog here.