EAU 2020: Was Twitter Right? Can We Use SoMe to Better Educate Patients?

(UroToday.com) As part of a plenary presentation at the European Association of Urology (EAU) Virtual Annual Meeting assessing “Testis Cancer and Surgical Andrology”, Juan Luis Vásquez, MD, PhD, highlighted the role of social media, both in urology and more generally.

As Dr. Loeb has previously published, social media uptake both personal and professionally has been swift, though with some differences on the basis of demographic features with higher utilization among younger individuals.


Dr. Vasquez emphasized that social media can enhance clinician’s careers in many ways:

  • through increased visibility
  • increasing Google rankings
  • allowing access and exposure to key opinion leaders
  • quick and widespread dissemination

However, we must remember that expert opinion is a level of evidence, albeit, a low level. As a result, both patients and clinicians need to be wary of the validity of the information presented online as previous work, published in the BJU International, demonstrated that nearly 20% of the information available on social media regarding testis cancer was inaccurate or misleading. Unfortunately, this information was 28 times more likely to be shared.

Many professional bodies have come up with guidance regarding the use of social media. While there are variations between these, the importance of maintaining professionalism and respect for patient privacy are foremost in all.


Further, work has defined the optimal approach for a “successful” tweet including brevity, inclusion of a photo, and mention of relevant accounts.

More recent evidence has suggested that the internet may facilitate patient and physician interactions and education. To this end, the EAU has a patient portal to share patient-directed information.

Presented by Juan Luis Vásquez, MD, PhD, Department of Urology, Zealand University Hospital, Roskilde, Denmark

Written by: Christopher J.D. Wallis, Urologic Oncology Fellow, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA, Twitter: @WallisCJD, at the Virtual 2020 EAU Annual Meeting #EAU20, July 17-19, 2020.