ASN's Mission

To create a world without kidney diseases, the ASN Alliance for Kidney Health elevates care by educating and informing, driving breakthroughs and innovation, and advocating for policies that create transformative changes in kidney medicine throughout the world.

learn more

Contact ASN

1401 H St, NW, Ste 900, Washington, DC 20005


The Latest on X

Kidney Week

Please note that you are viewing an archived section from 2023 and some content may be unavailable. To unlock all content for 2023, please visit the archives.

Abstract: FR-PO071

Investigating Online Search Trends to Improve Patient Education in Nephrolithiasis

Session Information

  • Educational Research
    November 03, 2023 | Location: Exhibit Hall, Pennsylvania Convention Center
    Abstract Time: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Category: Educational Research

  • 1000 Educational Research


  • Shah, Kavya Mehul, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • Zhong, Anthony, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • Taing, Monica, McGill University Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Hsiao, Li-Li, Brigham and Women's Hospital Department of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Nephrolithiasis can cause severe pain and affects one in ten individuals globally. Successful treatment requires patient cooperation, and managing the condition can be complex. While a variety of interventions ranging from citrate supplements to hydrochlorothiazide to shock wave lithotripsy exist, patients’ informational needs for nephrolithiasis are not well understood within the literature. As an increasing number of patients turn to the Internet for health information, analyzing search trends offers an opportunity to identify knowledge gaps and improve health literacy. Here, we characterize online search data related to nephrolithiasis to inform efforts to improve targeted patient education.


In May 2023, Google search data based on the term “Kidney Stones” were analyzed using “Search Response” (, a search engine optimization tool. Searches were performed for the most common People Also Ask (PAA) questions against a dataset of over 150 million queries, and the top 100 PAA questions relevant to the “Kidney Stones” keyword were ranked based on popularity. Two reviewers (AZ and MT) independently grouped the questions into categories adapted from standards in the literature, and a third reviewer (KMS) resolved any discrepancies.


The Search Response tool generated 19,376 PAA questions for “Kidney Stones.” Coding of the top 100 questions revealed that the greatest number of questions related to Management and Nutrition (31) (e.g., “What is the best food to eat when you have kidney stones?”), Treatment and Medication (25) (e.g., “What is the best treatment for kidney stones?”), Definition, Diagnosis, and Symptoms (20) (e.g., “What are the 4 types of kidney stones?”), and then Causes, Risk Factors, and Prevention (15) (e.g., “What are the main causes of kidney stones?”). Nine questions were uncategorized (e.g., “How painful is a stent for kidney stones?”).


The most common themes for questions regarding nephrolithiasis were Management and Nutrition, followed by Treatment and Medication; Definition, Diagnosis, and Symptoms; and Causes, Risk Factors, and Prevention. Therefore, targeted provider information about nutrition and other lifestyle interventions should be prioritized to address patients’ most common concerns regarding nephrolithiasis, and may help improve health literacy for this widespread condition.