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      Should patients with diabetes be encouraged to integrate social media into their care plan?


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          To evaluate the use of social media of individuals with diabetes mellitus (DM).

          Materials & methods:

          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.

          Lay abstract

          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.

          Most cited references7

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            Social networking sites: a novel portal for communication.

            The internet has transformed many spheres of society. Most notably the advent of social networking websites, such as MySpace, Bebo and Facebook, have attracted many millions of users worldwide. There are over 350 such sites in operation across the internet. There is a paucity of data in the adult literature examining the medical usage of this interesting facet of modern life. To ascertain whether Facebook has user groups that are connected with common medical conditions, and to classify the user groups that were identified as well as enumerating the number of individual users contained therein. We conducted a search of the entire Facebook website between December 2007 and January 2009. We used medical and lay nomenclature for the most prevalent non-communicable diseases as identified from the World Health Organisation Burden of Disease publication to identify whether they were represented among individual Facebook users and user groups. We identified 290,962 individual users who were part of 757 groups. Patient groups accounted for 47.4%, patient/carer support groups 28.1%, fund raising groups 18.6%, and others 5.8%. Notably, there were other groups containing representations from the scientific research community in addition to educational resources. The groups with the most individual members pertained to malignant neoplasms and cardiovascular disease (141,458 users) consistent with their worldwide prevalence. Facebook is providing a readily accessible portal for patients, carers and healthcare professionals to share their experiences of investigation, diagnosis and management of disease. Furthermore, this technology is being used for research, education and fundraising. Further research is warranted to explore the further potential of this new technology.
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              Social media and diabetes: can Facebook and Skype improve glucose control in patients with type 1 diabetes on pump therapy? One-year experience.


                Author and article information

                Future Sci OA
                Future Sci OA
                Future Science OA
                Future Science Ltd (London, UK )
                July 2018
                31 July 2018
                : 4
                : 7
                : FSO323
                [1 ]School of Computing, Informatics, & Decision Systems Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, 85281, USA
                [2 ]Department of Psychology, Baruch College, City University of New York, New York, NY, 10010, USA
                [3 ]Division of Endocrinology, Mayo Clinic Arizona, Scottsdale, AZ, 85259, USA
                [4 ]Department of Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109, USA
                [5 ]School of Business, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ, 07030, USA
                Author notes
                *Author for correspondence: Tel.: +1 480 727 1835; jingrui.he@ 123456asu.edu
                © 2018 Jingrui He

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

                : 15 February 2018
                : 24 May 2018
                : 31 July 2018
                Research Article

                diabetes mellitus,endocrinology,obesity,personalized medicine,social media,social networking


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