Tackling acid-base disorders, one Twitter poll at a time

Adv Physiol Educ. 2020 Dec 1;44(4):706-708. doi: 10.1152/advan.00099.2020.


Understanding and interpretation of acid-base disorders is an important clinical skill that is applicable to the majority of physicians. Although this topic is taught early in medical school, acid-base disturbances have been described as challenging by postgraduate trainees. We describe the use of Twitter, an online microblogging platform, to augment education in acid-base disturbances by using polls in which the user is shown laboratory values and then asked to select the most likely etiology of the disorder. The answer and a brief explanation are then shared in a subsequent tweet. Both polling questions and answers are shared from the account for the online, mobile-optimized, nephrology teaching tool NephSIM (https://www.nephsim.com/). An anonymous survey was administered to assess attitudes toward these polls. Using Twitter as an approach to enhance teaching of acid-base disturbances was both feasible and an engaging way to teach a challenging topic for trainees and physicians. Moreover, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has demonstrated the importance of incorporating virtual learning opportunities in all levels of medical education.

Keywords: Twitter; acid-base disorders; medical education; nephrology; social media.

MeSH terms

  • Acid-Base Equilibrium*
  • Acid-Base Imbalance / diagnosis
  • Acid-Base Imbalance / etiology*
  • Acid-Base Imbalance / physiopathology
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Comprehension
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction*
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Distance*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Educational Status
  • Humans
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • Physiology / education*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral / transmission
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • Quarantine
  • Social Distance
  • Social Media*

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19