Both web-based and in-clinic surveys were collected from individuals with DM. Descriptive and correlation analyses were employed to evaluate respondents’ diabetes-specific social networking site behaviors.
Forty-five patients with DM completed the web-based survey and 167, the clinic-based survey, of whom only 40 visited diabetes-specific social networking sites. Analysis of online survey data indicated that self-reported adherence to lifestyle recommendations was significantly correlated (p < 0.01) with visiting the sites. Clinic-based survey data found that patients who reported using DM-specific web sites monitored home glucose values more often and had better compliance with insulin administration (both p < 0.05) compared with nonusers.
This study provides insight into why individuals visit DM-specific social networking sites. Certain self-management behaviors may improve as a result of visiting these sites. Further work is needed to explore how to leverage social media technology to assist patients with the management of DM.
Social media has gained prominence as a source for healthcare information. This study used both online surveys and surveys of clinic patients with diabetes to understand why patients with diabetes use DM-specific social networking sites. The authors found that patients go to these resources to both offer and receive encouragement for their health condition. Visiting DM-specific social networking sites influenced more positive diabetes care behaviors, such as adhering to diet and exercise, glucose monitoring and insulin use. Further research is needed to understand how to incorporate social media into the care of diabetes.