ISN Commission of Nephrology Informatics

Background information and detailed



ISN Commission on Nephrology Informatics has existed since May 1997 and is a partnership

with the NKF cyberNephrology initiative which began July 1, 1997, see:



In this partnership the NKF has in the past provided

most of the funding and very valuable expertise from the computer industry the Advisory

Board of NKF cyberNephrology) while the ISN provides the remaining funding, high level

physician expertise represented by Commission members, and access to international

contacts and facilities.

A longer and extensively referenced description of the Informatics

Commission and its future plans is available:

Description of recent activities can be found under “What’s

New” at


A spin-off of Informatics Commission activities which is now

separate and distinct is the

site devoted to intellectual cross fertilization among medical disciplines –

“Enhancing Health Uses of the Internet Across All Areas of Medicine”. Writings

of interest include “cyberMedicine – Mainstream Medicine by 2020/Crossing

Boundaries” by Kim Solez, M.D. and Sheila Moriber Katz, M.D., M.B.A. In press,

Journal of Computer and Information Law 2001 .

A major accomplishment has been the creation of a WWW site for the Schrier

Atlas of Diseases of the Kidney:

This site includes all 66 chapters from the five volumes covering all areas of nephrology,

complete with color graphics and PowerPoint files from each chapter so that one can easily

create slide sets tailor made for specific educational purposes. At the moment there is

not a comparable resource to this in any area of medicine and the access statistics have

been very impressive for a resource geared to physicians rather than the general public:

up to 120,000 hits on-line a month with up to 5600 unique visitors a month.

One of the important initiatives of the Informatics commission, with

increasing NKF participation, is the “Renal-Tech Project: Computers and

Internet Connections for Renal Units in Developing Countries”. A WWW site

has been created to help solicit computer equipment donation for this project:

We have previously donated computer equipment to Nigeria. There have

been recent very successful donation trips to Nepal, Cuba, and Kosovo, see:

There is now also a facet of Renal-Tech involving donation of

computers to families of pediatric patients with renal disease within the US and Canada.

The recipients are selected in cooperation with the Council of Nephrology Social Workers

of the National Kidney Foundation:

We have established the ability to create WWW pages

“on the fly” using a digital camera and on-site laptop computer to put pictures

of meetings on the Internet within moments after they are taken. This capability, which

allows true virtual meeting attendance, was first demonstrated at the

Sept. 7-10, 1997 Joint Congress of the African Association of Nephrology, the South

African Renal Society and the Renal Care Society of South Africa in Durban, South Africa,


Since then many other international nephrology and transplantation

meetings have also been the subject of WWW pages created by NKF cyberNephrology:

A small sampling:

We have also created a site for pictures from the ISN

Video Legacy Project interview of Robert Kark:

and for the ISN Archive in Amsterdam:

We have created a database for the Archive at:

Most other activities of the Informatics Commission

are joint with the NKF and are well reflected in the NKF cyberNephrology WWW pages:

Eighteen new nephrology Internet discussion groups

have been formed since August 1997:

1.NEPHADMIN – for nephrology administrators

2.NEPHBSCI* – nephrology basic science discussion

3.NEPHCNPT* – discussions of individual clinical nephrology cases

4.NEPHDEVEL* – discussion of humanitarian projects and ISN Sister Centres Program

5.NEPHINDIG* – discussion of renal disease in indigenous peoples

6.NEPHJNL* – nephrology/transplantation journal club

7.NEPHMIN – a stripped down version of NEPHROL-DIGEST with all repetition and North

American specific content removed, designed for subscribers in developing countries

8.NEPHNPPT* – discussions of individual renal biopsy cases

9.NEPHRONOL* – Spanish – English discussion of nephrology subjects

10.NEPJHIST* – history of renal medicine, ISN Video Legacy Project interview transcripts

11.IFKF-L* – discussion relating to the International Federation of Kidney Foundations

12.MDDIALYSIS – for US dialysis unit directors

13.RENALPRO – e-mail list for nephrology professionals – nurses, technicians, dieticians,

social workers, administrators, physicians, engineers, etc.

14.RENALRD – a listserv primarily for those in renal nutrition.

15.KidneyDisease – for adult patients with renal disease

16. NephKids – for parents of children with renal disease

17. ANNET – African nephronet

18. ARABNEPHROL – Arab language nephrology discussion

These augment the original NEPHROL group which still continues as a

vibrant and useful resource.

Approximately 3,000 subscribers participate in the nineteen groups.

We have had spectacular success in the past two years unprecedented

in any other area of medicine with two of our discussion groups, ARABNEPHROL and

KIDNEYDISEASE. ARABNEPHROL has grown very quickly and now has discussions that equal the

best of those on NEPHROL. KIDNEYDISEASE now has nine physician moderators and

co-moderators answering patients’ questions. No patient resource of this nature exists in

any other area of medicine!

In a cooperative venture with the AST and ASTS the transplantation

discussions from NEPHROL are reproduced on the CenterSpan WWW site and also appear on the

discussion group CENTERSPAN-L, see:

Many other technical advances and activities to benefit nephrology

worldwide will be possible through the input of the NKF cyberNephrology Advisory Board

which meets annually.

One of the challenges of the Commission is to make the right choices

in exploring new technologies. In this respect our decision to demonstrate Apple’s AirPort

wireless 802.11b Internet connectivity between the ISN and NKF booths at the 2000 ASN

meeting in Toronto was a prophetic choice as this type of connection is emerging as the

dark horse favorite in wireless connection protocols


Respectfully submitted. – Kim Solez, M.D.,

Chair, ISN Commission on Nephrology Informatics

September 2002

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