Social media helped raise awareness of nephrology

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Over the past years, the reach of social media has extended into areas such as technology, business and almost every aspect of daily life.

Social media has even found its way into the busy schedules of physicians, who use it to provide awareness and education about new advances and technologies within a particular specialty. The rising trend of FOAM (free open access “meducation”) has greatly transformed the way in which medical information is shared among emergency medicine physicians.

Dr. Hitesh Shah and Dr. Kenar Jhaveri, physicians at the North Shore-LIJ Health System, developed a gaming model involving Twitter and various blogs to revive interest in the medical sub-specialty of nephrology.

Dubbed “NephMadness”, the initiative featured an online educational tournament inspired by the NCAA’s men’s Division 1 Basketball tournament. It consisted of 64 nephrology achievements that were organised into eight groups. On its first day, educational materials as well as description of the achievements were divided among eight blog posts.

The field of 64 was eventually trimmed down until a winner was proclaimed. Although editors scripted the first two rounds, the field was subsequently narrowed by users via online voting. The initiative saw 34 separate blog posts, of which 40 per cent were posted in blogs other than eAJKD.

Twitter, for its part, served as the main source of interactivity with 77 individuals tweeting about NephMadness 437 times, generating 519,323 impressions with the hashtag, #NephMadness.

As the biggest educational social media campaign made in organised medicine to date, NephMadness performed well in raising awareness of nephrology, with online traffic on the original blog setting a record.


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