Objectives: The expansion of competency based medical education (CBME) has necessitated the development of novel assessment tools. Social media applications hold potential to become entrenched E-learning assessment tools. The objective of this study was to evaluate WhatsApp as an assessment tool to improve trainees’ confidence in diagnosis and management of nephrology clinical problems.
Methods: A 16-week pilot study was performed using WhatsApp to disseminate clinical cases to internal medicine trainees. Clinical cases evaluated a comprehensive set of nephrology clinical competencies, and were followed by multiple choice questions. Pre and post-study surveys evaluated trainees’ confidence in the diagnosis and management of nephrology topics, using a 5-point Likert scale.
Results: Twenty seven (42.9%) out of 63 trainees enrolled (44.4% Females; 48.2/33.3/18.5% of post-graduate year 1/2/3, respectively). Trainees’ confidence improved for the diagnosis and management of clinical problems in transplantation, glomerulonephritis and dialysis. There was no significant improvement in confidence in areas in which respondents likely had previous exposure, such as acute kidney injury.
Conclusions: Trainees confidence improved using WhatsApp as a tool to enhance critical thinking. However, the response rate diminished prior to the end of the 16-week study period, questioning the durability of using such a teaching method.