Matt and I wrote an editorial on NephMadness. Last year was the fifth year of NephMadness and Matt and I felt it was time to pass the reigns to some new blood. Tim Yau came on board last year and got a lot of experience. Anna Burgner was added to the executive team this year. They are doing a cracking job.
As Matt and I move to lesser roles, Feldman, Dember, and Sterns invited us to review our experience with the first five years of NephMadness. It was very kind of them. The editorial is out now. Take a look.
My favorite part of this is that when you type NephMadness into PubMed, you will get two hits. (As of writing this, the new article is not indexed. Awkward.)
You probably know Kenar Jhaveri. He is the founder of NephronPower and the first editor of AJKDblog. He is a professor of Medicine at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine on Long Island. Kenar is a good friend and one of the great nephrology educators.
He is sponsoring a cardiorenal symposium in March. I’d love to go but I’ll be most of the way to Everest Basecamp at that time. If you have some spare conference time, you should check out The Heart-Kidney Connection.
There will be mad tweeting so in mid-March tune your Twitter machine to #nephcards2018
Satellite Healthcare is a non-for-profit dialysis company. They partnered with NephJC to do Bloggger’s Night the last three years and sponsor the NephJC Kidneys. This year they launched a Podcast, NephTalk. I was lucky to get invited to help out. I have hosted one, an interview with Sumi Sun about preventing blood stream infections. Here is her abstract from Kidney Week:
Background: CVCs are associated with catheter-related bloodstream infection (BSI) resulting in increased morbidity and mortality. Following our report of significantly reduced infection when 320 μg/mL gentamicin in 4% citrate is used as the CVC locking solution (Moran AJKD 2012), this has remained the standard of care in patients dialyzing with a CVC, unless physician order requested otherwise. The infection rates were monitored through an internal QC program developed for National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) reporting.
Methods: This study evaluated NHSN data with self-reported infection rates from January 2014 to December 2016 in a non-profit dialysis provider with a total of 57 free-standing dialysis facilities serving more than 5000 HD patients. BSI was reported according to NHSN criteria. Data were audited through comparison to an internal infection control report and discrepancies reconciled prior to final NHSN submission. Blood cultures were mandated before any antibiotic administration for suspected BSI, and 85% or more are sent to one internal lab (Ascend).
Results: The rate of catheter-related bloodstream infection over the three years was 1.00 episodes/100 patient months, 54% lower than the national average of 2.16 for CVC-related BSI (2014 NHSN BSI Pooled Mean Rate/100 patient-months). Monthly BSI rates showed minor fluctuations, however none exceeded the national average in any given month.
Conclusion: Gentamicin 320 μg/mL in 4% sodium citrate as a routine catheter lock demonstrated sustained low CVC-related BSI rates in HD patients, with approximately half the infection rate compared with the national average. Gentamicin-citrate lock should be considered the standard of care in patients with CVC access.
I was invited by the Curbsiders to talk about CKD. The discussion went a little long and our discussin got divided into two podcasts, #67 and #69. Here is the second half. I don’t think I made any major mistakes except when discussing combined ACEi and ARB therapy I said ALTITUDE was a study of RAAS inhibtion and endothelin antagonists. Actually ALTITUDE was RAASi and Aliskiren, the direct renin antagonist. And it was stopped not because of hyperkalemia but due to a CV signal (though the combination did have more hyperkalemia). The trial I was thinking about was ASCEND which added the endothelin antagonist avosentin to an ACEi or ARB in patients with diabetic nephropathy. This trial was also stopped early, again for CV issues after only 4 months on the drug!
If you look at the blog posts linked in that second post you will see posts written largely from the notes created and archived on Twitter. For a more contemporary example take a look at the post I wrote about the late breaking and high impact trials at this year’s Kidney Week. This post uses the Tweets written during the session to tell the story of the session. I think it does a far better job of conveying the mood of the audience during the session than other posts about the session that I have read.
Painting faced an existential crisis with the invention of photography. The platonic ideal of making a picture that fully represented reality was made meaningless by the invention of photography. The goal of painting pivoted from realism to impressionism, surrealism and subsequent movements. Painting faced its crisis by changing the definition of what it strived for. And to be clear artists that spent their career mastering realism didn’t cover to the new movement. New artists came along to fill those niche that had growth and potential despite photography.
Medical education is facing a change in the way students digest it.
Go to a pre-clinical lecture at any medical school in the US and you can find yourself a seat. It doesn’t matter the size of the lecture hall or the size of the med school class, students don’t go to class. Lectures are videotaped and can be streamed. Students gravitate to the most efficient way for them to learn and surprise, it is not sitting in lectures watching slideshows. If the students likes slide shows they will watch it at double speed with the PowerPoint open in front of them, available for them to make notes. It is nothing like the lectures I attended in med school.
Slideshows are tired, allow and inefficient. Students are routing around them. Good for them. I love that students are finding ways to learn in ways most efficient to each individual’s mind.
ASN’s problem is that Kidney Week is slideshow-learning. Selling slideshow-learning to millenials who don’t go to slideshows even when they paid tens of thouands of dollars is going to be like selling sand in the Mojave.
ASN has to make like 19th-century painting and pivot to a different platonic ideal.
I mean an American Idol-like competition for the best educational lectures.
Have educators around the country compete to make the best lecture on the same subject. Have them compete with the finals at Kidney Week. Rotate the subject every year, but make it a fundamental lecture that everyone needs to give:
Dialysis for the internist
Pathology lecture that uses microscopes rather than slides
Biopsy training with cadavers
Ultrasound training with patients
A recreational run
With pre- and post- sodium levels and AKI biomarkers
Panel discussions with patients
ASN is using a fifty year old model of what makes a medical meeting and if they don’t adapt there will be fewer and fewer, and older and older, people attending. The ER and critical care crew have layed the blue print with SMACC, nephrology should be the first specialty to follow it down the rabbit hole.
Saturday November 4, 2017 I accepted the Robert Narins Award from the ASN. This is the highest honor I could ever receive for the work that I have done in medical education.
Here is how ASN describes the award:
The Robert G. Narins Award honors individuals who have made substantial and meritorious contributions in education and teaching. This award is named for Robert G. Narins, who is also the first recipient of the award.
Dr. Narins’ contributions to education and teaching started in 1967 when he was appointed to the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn, and on the faculties of UCLA, Harvard, Temple and Henry Ford Hospital, he taught and mentored many residents and fellows. For eight years he chaired the ABIM’s Nephrology Board and also worked on the ACP’s Annual Program Committee. His contributions to education in the fields of fluid-electrolyte and acid-base physiology are prodigious and well-recognized.
Dr. Narins was also involved in the creation and planning of many ASN educational programs during Renal Week and throughout the year, including: Board Review Course and Update, one and two day programs at Renal Week, Renal WeekEnds, and NephSAP. He also was instrumental in the decision to develop the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), the establishment of the Fellow of the American Society of Nephrology (FASN) program, and negotiated the successful partnership agreements with HDCN and UpToDate. Dr. Narins has been at the forefront of collaborative efforts with the American College of Physicians to increase the exposure of nephrologists to relevant updates in Internal Medicine and internists to chronic kidney disease. Collaborative educational programs with societies in Europe and Asia have helped to spread education and teaching in nephrology on a global scale.
To be recognized for this is amazing. I feel that social media and internet-based, distributed learning that leverages the skills and perspective of a large group of self-appointed experts is, and will, continue to swamp the old model of a few, highly selected, experts.
In many ways, the reality of internet distributed medical education is the opposite of what people believed it would represent. I remember hearing people speak about the best lecturers being able to distribute their wisdom to the world through IP switching. The conventional wisdom was that the internet would allow all medical students to learn from the best teachers. The internet would eliminate location and size limits of the lecture hall so we would all get the Harvard education.
Social media altered that future.
Instead of one vision being distributed to a million impressionable minds we got a million visions being distributed so that each mind could find the one that worked for them.
We are in the midst of a massive democratization of medical media.
Social media in medical education is moving us from broadcast video to YouTube, from radio and audio books to podcasts, from books and journals to blogs and tweets, from a few highly selected authority figures to a large number of educator hobbyists.
And I am just a participant in this. I am an early adopter. I am at the front of the wave. However, I didn’t create the wave, and I can’t control it; I’m merely surfing the leading edge. And I believe ASN recognizes that. I believe that the ASN awarded me the Narins award as a symbol that distributed, social media-powered-learning, is now a valid and growing part of primary and continuing medical education. ASN is among the first of the medical societies to recognize this. I salute ASN for resisting the urge to circle the wagons and fight the inevitable. ASN should be commended for recognizing and embracing this new epoch in medical education.
That said, as much as I believe I was a just a symbol of the revolution that I am part of, they did pick me to be that symbol and for that I am grateful. And I would like to thank the people that have brought me on this journey.
That tweet is totally true. And in the rush to compose a coherent thank-you speech in my adrenalin addled brain I glossed over and missed some essential people.
The Patron Saint
Burton D. Rose. My favorite part of the Narins Award Legacy Video is when Rose says that Robert Narins brought fluid and electrolyte and acid-base teaching into the mainstream (1:35) and set the path for him.
I love this because Rose set the path for me, in two ways.
One: Rose’s Clinical Physiology of Acid-Base and Electrolyte Disorders was the bible that taught me renal physiology and inspired me to pursue a career in nephrology. I bought it during my third year of medical school when I told the intern that I was working with that I was confused by eletrolytes. He suggested this book. Talk about a bad answer to a small question. I wanted a 5-minute lecture on what fluid to order and my senior suggested a 916 page, $70 tome.
But I was an idiot and I bought it.
And though it sat on my shelf for a year before I started it, when I began, I could barely put it down. I truly believe that one can draw a direct line from that terrible advice given to me at the Allen Park VA in 1993 to my position today. Sometimes bad advice can lead to the greatest of outcomes.
Rose’s book is a masterpiece because it strives to make the reader build a robust mental model of how the kidney works. Once that model is complete, it becomes easy to understand all of the electrolyte disorders.
Two: When I was an intern I was telling a doctor how much I loved Rose’s yellow electrolyte book and he told me to look him up in PubMed. I had previously looked up Berl and Schrier and I expected much of the same, but this is what I got:
Seven. Seven articles in pubmed by the great Bud Rose. The man that has done more for medical education and patient care than anybody since Osler (based on his work with UpToDate) had seven articles in PubMed in 1996. Go ahead, see for yourself. This convinced me that I could be a medical educator without being a medical researcher. I could pursue what I loved, without being distracted doing what I had little interest in doing.
Joshua Schwimmer. Josh was the first nephrology blogger. I had been a long time reader for years before following his trail and starting Precious Bodily Fluids. And after a few months, Joshua gave me my first link and turned the microphone on. Thanks Josh.
PBFluids and @Kidney_Boy stand apart as the only signifigant projects I have done alone. Everything else of significance has been done with a collaborator, co-author, or co-creator. This is an indisputable case of “I couldn’t have done it alone.”
Sarah Faubel as a co-author on the Microbiology Companion and The Fluid Electrolyte and Acid Base Companion
Joel Smith as co-creator of Alert and Oriented Publishing
#NephTwitter is a colorful and engaging place with an always on conversation anchored by people around the world. Here are a few of the people that populate that community.
Tom Oates, Roger Rodby, Paul Phelan, Michelle Rheault, Francesco Iannuzzella, Hector Madariaga, Graham Abra, Nikhil Shah, Matt Graham-Brown, Ian Logan, Scherly Leon, Dearbhla Kelly, Silvi Shah, David Goldfarb, Richard McCrory, F. Perry Wilson, Raymond Hsu, Benjamin Stewart, Brian Stotter.
My partners at St Clair Specialty have been involuntary partners on this journey and have been great. St Clair Specialty is a practice that values people that contribute to nephrology. This was clear from past CEO, Robert Provenzano, who was a major contributor to nephrology as a scientist and president of the RPA. And it is also clear with Keith Bellovich, RPA board member and chief of nephrology at St John Hospital and Medical Center. At a more single minded-practice, I could not have contributed to nephrology education as I have.
And lastly, and most importantly, I could never have contributed to medical education without my family. I need to thank the eternal patience and understanding of my wife, Cathy, and my kids, Laura and Simon Topf. Thank-you.