Benefits of using IT techniques for the Cracow Medical Society.

Igor Gościński1, Piotr Kochan2, Wiesław Pyrczak3, 4, Adam Wiernikowski1


Until 1866, doctors in Cracow operated under Imperial and Royal Cracow Scientific Society (pol. C.K. Towarzystwo Naukowe Krakowskie) founded in 1815 in the Department (section) of Natural and Medical Sciences. They presented their works at joint meetings of the entire society and published them in individual "Annals of the Scientific Society associated with the University of Cracow" (pol. Roczniki Towarzystwa Naukowego z Uniwersytetem Krakowskim połączone), "Pharmaceutical Memoirs of Cracow" (1834-1836) (pol. Pamiętniki Farmaceutyczne Krakowskie) and "Annals of the Faculty of Medicine at the Jagiellonian University" (1838-1845) (pol. Roczniki Wydziału Lekarskiego w Uniwersytecie Jagiellońskim) [1]. The need for medical information in Polish meant that on the initiative of Prof. Józef Dietl and Prof. Antoni Bryk, in cooperation with Prof. Józef Majer and Prof. Fryderyk Skobel, as well as doctors Ettinger and Zieleniewski, a journal called the "Medical Review" (pol. Przegląd Lekarski) was created, and was published weekly since April 1862. From the beginning of the publication of this magazine, a number of difficulties were encountered, which were reduced when in 1866 the Cracow Medical Society (TLK) was established, and Przegląd Lekarski became its official publishing organ [2, 3].

XX century

The turbulent history of Poland in the twentieth century caused the inhibition of organizational and publishing activity during World War II. After the war ended in 1945, the magazine was re-published as an organ of the Cracow Medical Society.

The Cracow Medical Society since 1950 is a branch of the Polish Medical Association, and retains full autonomy. It fulfills its statutory tasks, the most important of which is the integration of physicians of different specialties who are members of various professional medical societies around common issues: basic sciences, medical diagnostics, treatment, deontology, ethics, history of medicine and culture. It carries out these tasks by organizing and co-organizing conferences, symposia, scientific and training meetings, by speaking out and taking the stand in deontological and ethical matters, presenting doctors' cultural and artistic achievements, awarding diplomas and medals, maintaining the memory of outstanding doctors, predominantly associated with the Jagiellonian University and Cracow, and distinguished in Poland [4].

In the years 1961–1991, i.e. for 31 years, in January each year, on the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, the "Medical Review-Oświęcim" was published. A total of 7,200 A4-sized pages, over 1,000 articles written by 477 authors. The subject matter of the notebooks was divided into 21 sections, of which the most important were: political, medical and legal, philosophical and ethical issues as well as the extermination system; test results of former prisoners; hunger; criminal experiments; repression of intellectuals; children's martyrology; Jewish martyrology; compensation issues and case law (KZ syndrome); biographies and reports. Annual January ceremonial meetings organized since 1960 in the Jagiellonian University Collegium Novum Hall on the occasion of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp and the International Holocaust Day are related to this issue. During the last meetings, in the years 2013, 2017 - 2020 - there were two-way live broadcasts by satellite, including speeches by the directors of the Holocaust Museum in Los Angeles [5].

Many TLK publications in book forms and digitization of archived issues of Przegląd Medyczny - Oświęcim, translated into English are international publications on the Holocaust [6]. These recent activities and international events in Cracow, e.g. Medicine Behind the Barbed Wire Conference - are conducted with friendly financial and organizational cooperation with Medycyna Praktyczna publishers. The "Medical Review - Auschwitz" project implemented by Medycyna Praktyczna is supported by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim and the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On the website www.mp.pl/auschwitz you can read the English-language versions of scientific articles from the Review (Fig. 1). This is especially important because Przegląd Lekarski publisher (pol. Wydawnictwo Przegląd Lekarski) had to formally suspend operations at the end of 2019, due to financial problems - we hope that this is just temporary.

Figure 1. Screenshot of the Medical Review - Auschwitz to be found on: www.mp.pl/auschwitz
[please click on the image to enlarge]

TLK and information technology in the new millennium

Co-organized by the Cracow Medical Society at its headquarters in Cracow on Radziwiłłowska 4 Street, is the annual Symposium "Pain and Suffering", which has been broadcast online since 2014. Topics of the Symposia focus primarily on the importance of pain and suffering in relation to philosophy, theology and medicine, including the specifics of experiencing pain, the quality of life of patients, and the problems of treatment, especially its individualization. Online broadcasts, without geographical limitation, are conducted during the first, essential day of the symposium. Since 2015, the broadcasts have been archived on one of the Symposium co-organizers' YouTube channel - Polska Rada Resuscytacji (Polish Resuscitation Council) which may be found on: www.youtube.com/user/PRCresuscytacja (Fig. 2).

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Figure 2. Screenshot of Polska Rada Resuscytacji (Polish Resuscitation Council) YouTube channel to be found on: www.youtube.com/user/PRCresuscytacja
[please click on the image to enlarge]

From January 2015 to March 2020, there were 3192 page views, made in 32.5% by women and 67.5% by men. Analyses from 2018 showed that the reception was made mostly with the help of a computer (412), a mobile phone (108) and a tablet (70), and least often with a TV set (3 notes). In 2019 and 2020, parallel online broadcasts were launched on Facebook. 7449 page views were recorded: www.facebook.com/pg/PRCresuscytacja/videos/

Since 2017, Cracow Medical Society has been cooperating with the World Journal of Medical Images, Videos and Cases (WJOMI). WJOMI was founded at the end of 2015 as a modern online publishing platform which can be found on wjomi.com. The journal can be described as "full open-access", i.e. with full unrestricted access to publications, but it is unique enough to be completely free also for the authors, i.e. they do not pay for publishing their work as in other open-access magazines or journals. WJOMI also runs an official YouTube channel with over 16,500 article-related film views.

There are no advertisements in WJOMI and the journal editors work completely voluntarily without collecting any remuneration, whatsoever. The editors do not use IT specialists. All the website code is hand-written by the editors, and the domain and server space is available for the journal free of charge. The journal's reach is international because the articles are published in English and only the abstracts are in Polish. The great advantage of an online magazine is the ability to post films and numerous photos, as well as the ease of access to publications from a computer, tablet or phone at any place and any time, provided that one is connected to the Internet. Articles in the journal can also be published relatively quickly from the official submission, the editorial decision is made based on peer reviews and obtaining the final approval for publication - the articles are then posted on wjomi.com website in the form of:
(i) html - for reading on the computer; and
(ii) a printable PDF.

So far, WJOMI has published a number of articles related to celebrations and lectures during TLK scientific meetings and events [7-12]. These TLK activities are possible thanks to extensive cooperation with the authorities of the Jagiellonian University and other universities in Cracow, the district Physicians Chamber in Cracow, and many specialized medical societies and organizations [13-15]. Close cooperation with the Cracow Branch of the Polish Academy of Sciences should be mentioned here: the Committee on Medical Sciences and the Committee on the History and Philosophy of Medicine, of which the TLK President, Prof. Igor Gościński is a member. Continuous cooperation with the publishing body of the regional Physicians Chamber in Cracow - the Galician Medical Gazette, a bimonthly magazine published in 15,830 copies, is also popularizing TLK's activity.


As shown, all these collaboration and various information techniques allow to communicate and reveal the extensive scientific and non-medical activities of physicians, as well as to present their image beyond their profession, promoting their cultural activities among the general public. The recognition of this broad activity of the Cracow Medical Society was bestowed on Prof. Igor Gościński on June 21, 2017 during the 76th Solemn Session of the Capital Council of the Royal City of Cracow, with the highest decoration - the bronze "Medal Cracoviae Merenti" [16]. We are living in an era of constantly evolving new technologies. These novel technologies are used in our everyday lives, in science and research, in the media and culture as well as in medicine. How the world has changed is shown by the current online daily monitoring of the public health threat - the Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) Pandemic.

The article was based on the abstract to the national Congress of Physicians in Płock 5-6.06.2020, which was cancelled due to the 2020 Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) Pandemic.


[1] Wiernikowski A. Z dziejów Towarzystwa Lekarskiego Krakowskiego. [in] Krakowska Izba Lekarska 1893-1945, OIL Kraków, 2013, p. 32-137.
[2] Sułowicz W, Gościński I, Wiernikowski A. Działalność wydawnicza Towarzystwa Lekarskiego Krakowskiego. Przegl Lek 2014; 71:237-9.
[3] Wiernikowski A. Towarzystwo Lekarskie Krakowskie w latach 1989-2015. Acta Medica Jaroslaviensis 2016; 37:83-90.
[4] Gościński I, Kawecka-Jaszcz K, Pawlik W, Wiernikowski A. Przeszłość, teraźniejszość i przyszłość Towarzystwa Lekarskiego Krakowskiego. [in] Towarzystwa Naukowe w Polsce - dziedzictwo, kultura, nauka, trwanie. Kruszewski Z (ed.), PAN, Warszawa 2013, p. 124-34.
[5] Kochan P. The 75th Anniversary of Auschwitz Liberation celebrated at the Jagiellonian University. World J Med Images Videos Cases 2019; 6:e1-4.
[6] Gościński I, Skotnicki AB, Sułowicz W, Wiernikowski A. Działalność Towarzystwa Lekarskiego Krakowskiego w zakresie dokumentacji i systematycznego utrwalania pamięci o zbrodniach ludobójstwa w czasie II wojny światowej. Przegl Lek 2013; 70: 227-8.
[7] Wiernikowski A. 150th Anniversary of the founding of Cracow Medical Society. World J Med Images Videos Cases 2017; 3:e9-15.
[8] Gościński I. Formal meeting on the occasion of 72nd Anniversary of the Liberation of the Nazi German Concentration Camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau - Part I. World J Med Images Videos Cases 2017; 3:e35.
[9] Gościński I. Formal meeting on the occasion of 72nd Anniversary of the Liberation of the Nazi German Concentration Camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau - Part II. World J Med Images Videos Cases 2017; 3:e55-56.
[10] Cranovsky RS, Gościński I. Remembering the Cracow School of Neurosurgery and Neuroradiology. World J Med Images Videos Cases 2019; 5:e1-8.
[11] Gościński I. Recording from celebration of the 74th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Nazi German Concentration Camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau. World J Med Images Videos Cases 2019; 5:e53-54.
[12] Gościński I. Remembering Prof. Józef Bogusz - the longest serving president of Cracow Medical Society. World J Med Images Videos Cases 2019; 5:e75-78.
[13] Gościński I, Wiernikowski A. Współpraca Towarzystwa Lekarskiego Krakowskiego i Okręgowej Izby Lekarskiej w Krakowie z lekarzami z zagranicy, szczególnie pochodzenia polskiego. II Kongres Polskich Towarzystw Naukowych na Obczyźnie, 4-7 września 2008. Polska Akademia Umiejętności, Stowarzyszenie „Wspólnota Polska”, Kraków, 2010, p. 277-83.
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[15] Gościński I, Wiernikowski A, Zawiliński J. Towarzystwo Lekarskie Krakowskie a Wydział Lekarski Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego – przeszłość i teraźniejszość. Przegl Lek 2014; 71: 240-4.

Conflict of interest: PK is the Editor-in-Chief of WJOMI and current TLK Board of Directors member.

Authors’ affiliations:
1 Cracow Medical Society – Towarzystwo Lekarskie Krakowskie, Cracow, Poland.
2 Chair of Microbiology, Jagiellonian University Medical College in Cracow, Poland.
3 Dean's Office of the Faculty of Medicine, Jagiellonian University Medical College in Cracow, Poland.
4 Polska Rada Resuscytacji (Polish Resuscitation Council), Cracow, Poland.

Corresponding author:
Dr Adam Wiernikowski
Sekretarz Towarzystwa Lekarskiego Krakowskiego
ul. Radziwiłłowska 4
31-026 Cracow, Poland
e-mail: adamwier@mp.pl

To cite this article: Gościński I, Kochan P, Pyrczak W, Wiernikowski. Benefits of using IT techniques for the Cracow Medical Society. World J Med Images Videos Cases 2020; 5:e14-18.

Submitted for publication: 15 April 2020
Accepted for publication: 25 April 2020
Published on: 30 April 2020

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