Issue: October 2020
Disclosures: Desai is the founder of NOD Analytics and Farouk reports no relevant financial disclosures.
October 12, 2020
2 min read

Social media expands opportunities for nephrologists

Issue: October 2020
Disclosures: Desai is the founder of NOD Analytics and Farouk reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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Kidney Week 2020 begins later this month, and after an exhaustive fight against the COVID-19 pandemic that continues globally, this year’s symposium will serve as an opportunity to delve into online learning, virtual platforms and social media.

During the last decade, nephrology has risen as a leader in the professional uses of social media, as well as free, open access medical education (FOAMed).

Tejas Desai

This year’s on-demand session, “Embracing technology: Nephrology 2.0,” explores the various uses of social media in nephrology, including effective and efficient uses for those caring for patients with kidney disease.

The session begins with Timothy Yau, MD, who provides an overview of the online educational innovations in nephrology. For many, the first introduction to online medical education was through a blog. This platform introduced the nephrology community to a new way of teaching and learning and provided a venue for rapid dissemination and consumption of information. Blogs remain a popular venue for explaining complex nephrology topics by combining text, pictures and video. Additional FOAMed tools include websites, simulation-based learning platforms, video series, online games and live webinars.

Samira Farouk

Aisha Shaikh, MD, introduces attendees to the uses of social media in interventional nephrology, as well as the tweetorial. Physicians across multiple medical specialties have enthusiastically adopted Twitter as a medium to exchange scientific ideas. The tweetorial is a series of well-organized chained tweets (each limited to 280 characters) in which each link walks the reader through a complex medical case. Along the way, various multimedia features — such as video animations, polls and colorful diagrams — are presented to enhance one’s learning.

To date, there are more than 170 published tweetorials on nephrology topics. Websites such as, and maintain an updated list of published tweetorials.

The next speaker in our session, Arvind Canchi, MD, walks us through an international perspective of social media use in nephrology. In 2011, ASN was one of the first organizations to use social media as an educational tool. Since then, more than 200 nephrology conferences have used social media for education, with more than 11,000 authors from more than 40 nations. Social media has created a robust global nephrology community, both within and outside national and international conferences. In nephrology, hashtags allow for more directed, topic-specific conversation (eg, #C3NJC, #nephJC, #HYPHIP), virtual crowd-sourcing venues (eg, #askRenalPath, #askRenal), case conferences (#ECNeph) and more (eg, #TipsforNephFellows, #NephroNuggets, #NephroNotes).

Kimberly Manning, MD, discusses the value of social media use. Long-lasting personal and professional connections make social media a valuable tool. These connections can accelerate professional interests, catalyze academic and personal growth, and leave users with enduring friendships.

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed enormous strain on every aspect of our lives. Physicians and societies have turned to social media to stay informed, maintain professional connections and continue to advance our field. Nephrology’s experience in using a variety of social media platforms has proved to be of great importance and has allowed us to lead the way in this growing and exciting space.

Editor’s note: Dr. Desai and Dr. Farouk are moderators of the session, “Embracing technology: Nephrology 2.0” (ID #364031) which will be held on Oct. 24 during Kidney Week. For more information, visit