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      Facebook as a Novel Tool for Continuous Professional Education on Dementia: Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

      , BPharm, MClinPharm, DHSc , 1 , 2 , , BN, MHA, PhD 3

      (Reviewer), (Reviewer)

      Journal of Medical Internet Research

      JMIR Publications

      dementia, Facebook, social network sites, continuous professional education

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          Abstract

          Background

          Social network sites (SNSs) are widely exploited in health education and communication by the general public, including patients with various conditions. Nevertheless, there is an absence of evidence evaluating SNSs in connecting health professionals for professional purposes.

          Objective

          This pilot randomized controlled trial was designed to evaluate the feasibility of an intervention aiming to investigate the effects of a continuous professional education program utilizing Facebook to obtain knowledge on dementia and care for patients with dementia.

          Methods

          Eighty health professionals from Hong Kong were recruited for participation in the study and randomized at a 1:1 ratio by a block randomization method to the intervention group (n=40) and control group (n=40). The intervention was an 8-week educational program developed to deliver updated knowledge on dementia care from a multidisciplinary perspective, either by Facebook (intervention group) or by email (control group) from October 2018 to January 2019. The primary outcomes were the effects of the intervention, measured by differences in the means of changes in pre- and postintervention scores of knowledge assessments from the 25-item Dementia Knowledge Assessment Scale (DKAS) and formative evaluation of 20 multiple choice questions. Other outcome measurements included participant compliance, participant engagement in Facebook, satisfaction, and self-perceived uses of Facebook for continuing professional education programs.

          Results

          Significantly more intervention group participants (n=35) completed the study than the control group (n=25) ( P<.001). The overall retention rate was 75% (60/80). The mean of changes in scores in the intervention group were significant in all assessments ( P<.001). A significant difference in the mean of changes in scores between the two groups was identified in the DKAS subscale Communication and Behavior (95% CI 0.4-3.3, P=.02). There was no significant difference in the total DKAS scores, scores of other DKAS subscales, and multiple choice questions. Participant compliance was significantly higher in the intervention group than in the control group ( P<.001). The mean numbers of participants accessing the learning materials were 31.5 (SD 3.9) and 17.6 (SD 5.2) in the intervention and control group, respectively. Polls attracted the highest level of participant engagement, followed by videos. Intervention group participants scored significantly higher in favoring the use of Facebook for the continuing education program ( P=.03). Overall, participants were satisfied with the interventions (mean score 4 of a total of 5, SD 0.6).

          Conclusions

          The significantly higher retention rate, together with the high levels of participant compliance and engagement, demonstrate that Facebook is a promising tool for professional education. Education delivered through Facebook was significantly more effective at improving participants’ knowledge of how people with dementia communicate and behave. Participants demonstrated positive attitudes toward utilizing Facebook for professional learning. These findings provide evidence for the feasibility of using Facebook as an intervention delivery tool in a manner that can be rolled out into practical settings.

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          Most cited references 36

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          The influence of social networking sites on health behavior change: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

          Our aim was to evaluate the use and effectiveness of interventions using social networking sites (SNSs) to change health behaviors.
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            Using Facebook and text messaging to deliver a weight loss program to college students.

            Between 31 and 35% of the college-aged population is overweight or obese, yet few weight loss trials for this population have been conducted. This study examined the feasibility, acceptability, and initial efficacy of a technology-based 8-week weight loss intervention among college students. Students (N = 52) were randomly assigned to one of the three arms: Facebook (n = 17); Facebook Plus text messaging and personalized feedback (n = 18); Waiting List control (n = 17), with assessments at 4 weeks and 8 weeks (post-treatment). Participants were 20.47 ± 2.19 years old, 86.45 ± 17.11 kg, with a body mass index of 31.36 ± 5.3 kg/m(2) . Participants were primarily female (86.5%), and the sample was racially diverse (57.7% Caucasian, 30.8% African American, 5.8% Hispanic, and 5.7% other races). The primary outcome was weight loss after 8 weeks (post-treatment); 96.0% of the participants completed this assessment. At 8 weeks, the Facebook Plus group had significantly greater weight loss (-2.4 ± 2.5 kg) than the Facebook (-0.63 ± 2.4 kg) and Waiting List (-0.24 ± 2.6 kg) (both Ps < 0.05). Weight change at 8 weeks was not significantly different between the Facebook and Waiting List groups. Results show preliminary efficacy and acceptability of the two active intervention arms (97.0% found the program helpful, 81.3% found the videos/handouts helpful, and 100% would recommend the program to others). Results indicate the potential for an innovative weight loss intervention that uses technology platforms (Facebook and text messaging) that are frequently used and already integrated into the cultural life of college students. Copyright © 2012 The Obesity Society.
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              New insights into the dementia epidemic.

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                J Med Internet Res
                J. Med. Internet Res
                JMIR
                Journal of Medical Internet Research
                JMIR Publications (Toronto, Canada )
                1439-4456
                1438-8871
                June 2020
                2 June 2020
                : 22
                : 6
                Affiliations
                [1 ] School of Health Sciences Caritas Institute of Higher Education New Territories China (Hong Kong)
                [2 ] Faculty of Health and Social Sciences The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Kowloon China (Hong Kong)
                [3 ] Centre for Gerontological Nursing School of Nursing The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Kowloon China (Hong Kong)
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Windy SY Chan sychan@ 123456cihe.edu.hk
                Article
                v22i6e16772
                10.2196/16772
                7298630
                32484441
                ©Windy SY Chan, Angela YM Leung. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org), 02.06.2020.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on http://www.jmir.org/, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

                Categories
                Original Paper
                Original Paper

                Medicine

                dementia, continuous professional education, social network sites, facebook

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