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You may have heard it on the grapevine, but UroVine is now here

UroVinePic3I was first introduced to Vine by my good friend Dr Fernando Gomez Sancha over a very enjoyable dinner in Milan during the European Association of Urology meeting in March 2013.  I thought that the concept was interesting and signed up on the spot.

Vine is a relatively new social media platform that allows users to create and share 6 second videos loops.  It brings out amazing creativity with the very restrictive maximum 6 second video duration. It is not dissimilar to the Twitter where users have to work within the content limits of the platform where one only has a 140 character to make a point. However, Twitter is probably a lot easier than trying to create 6 second video content.

Although signed up to a Vine account, I did not use it very much initially.  I was still a little unsure as to how I was going to be able make use of it either for personal or professional use.  Gradually over time, I started playing around and making some personal Vine clips, mainly at concerts or at sports events.  They were not particularly well thought out Vines and certainly of limited interest. I also tweeted a few of these Vines and I was impressed by the integration of Vine videos on the Twitter platform.  I should not have been surprised since Twitter owns Vine.

On Twitter, one can watch a Vine loop video without having to click a link out of the App or website as is the case for say YouTube. Additionally, the short Vine clips were a perfect match for Twitter users who wanted small bite sized content in this time poor world. I then became fascinated with Vine having this repetitious loop – it is almost captivating to the extent that you cannot help but to watch at least 3 or more loops. The first loop is like “what was that”, the second loop is like “I think it’s what I thought I saw” and third loop is like “I get it” and the fourth loop is because you could not work out exactly when the third loop ended and accidentally watched it for an additional time. Have a look some Vine clips and you will then understand what I mean.

This repetition had me thinking about how can we find a medical education application to this platform. The answer was really in Twitter. The best way was to use Twitter and Vine together. If a specific Twitter account were to be created to link to specific Vines, we could create a powerful medical education tool. The repetitious nature of the video loop enables us to reinforce a learning point.

On 3 February 2015, #UroVine was established using the account @UroVine. Vine clips have already been tweeted associated with key learning points. I would love to hear your feedback and to have your Vines submitted for tweeting.


Making a Vine is very simple. It does not have to be HD or have cinema ready professional production. The simplest thing to do is to take your mobile phone with the Vine App and to shoot selected video running off your laptop. More important is that there needs to be clear learning point that needs to reinforced.


The combined use of Twitter and Vine specifically for medical education has the potential to be a very powerful tool. With recent provision of Twitter Activity metrics for each tweet and Vine loop data, there is the potential for some interesting analysis. It is my belief that this is a first and once again a demonstration that Urology is leading the way with innovation in medical education and social media. I hope you will join us.

Henry Woo (@drhwoo) is Associate Professor of Surgery at the Sydney Adventist Hospital Clinical School of the University of Sydney. He is the Editor in Chief of BJUI Knowledge, an innovative on-line CME portal that launches this year.


4 replies
  1. Fernando Gomez Sancha
    Fernando Gomez Sancha says:

    Great idea Henry!!

    Vine has been around for a while, waiting for you to come up with this idea. I agree it has a great potential value as a teaching tool… it can allow for surgical video tips, maybe could hold two or three slides that summarize important knowledge pills. It allows for sound as well. The looping of the video can help reinforce the message.
    The rate of change in urology is accelerating and urologists are so busy that keeping up to date with change is a true challenge. We need this kind of tool to spread the news and deliver important messages and to spike curiosity among our colleagues worldwide.
    I would consider not limiting the twitter account only to vine 6 second videos, but also occasionally add links to other videos in other platforms online that are worth recommending. Keep up the good work BJUI!

  2. Dr. Brian Stork
    Dr. Brian Stork says:


    Great post!

    Vine has several great things going for it including easy of use, brevity and repetition.

    As a beekeeper, I frequently use Vine to educate people about the behavior of bees and to try to get them interested in beekeeping as a hobby. This is a Vine video I shot of a swam of bees in my neighbor’s cherry tree. When people ask me about how and why bees swarm, I just take out my iPhone, show them the video and give a short narrative.

    As a physician, I’ve found Vine to be an equally effective educational tool for patients. It’s great for patients who have difficulty understanding written materials. It can also provide patients a quick overview of surgical procedures – in this case, InterStim.

    As you suggest, it can be a great tool to educate residents and physician assistants. This is a video I shot the other day of some rather unusual renal anatomy. When using Vine in this manner, however, we need to be extra diligent and cautious to protect patient privacy.

    Finally, if you need something to help you get to sleep at night, you can read more about how I’m using Vine in my practice via this link:

    Congratulations on UroVine, Henry. Keep up the great work!


  3. Henry Woo
    Henry Woo says:

    Thanks Fernando and Brian. Both of you are already doing great work in this space. Innovation in social media tools appears to be happening on both sides of the Atlantic and we could also say on both sides of the Pacific. Hoping to see urologists sign up to Vine and to have a ‘play’ and to submit their learning vines to @UroVine for dissemination.

  4. Peter Chin
    Peter Chin says:

    Great post Henry!
    It is an interesting and effective amalgamation of two technologies that marry a short narrative with visual reinforcement. I think you have identified a powerful teaching and learning tool that suits visual and endoscopic specialties such as Urology. I can’t wait to see how the Urologists of the world are going to utilize this platform that you have identified.

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