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The use of social media among health professionals to facilitate chronic disease self-management with their patients: A systematic review

De Angelis, G. et al. (2018) ‘The use of social media among health professionals to facilitate chronic disease self-management with their patients: A systematic review’, DIGITAL HEALTH. doi: 10.1177/2055207618771416.

Abstract

Objective

The objective of this systematic review was to summarize the evidence pertaining to the use of social media by health professionals to facilitate chronic disease self-management with their patients.

Methods

A systematic approach was used to retrieve and extract relevant data. A total of 5163 citations were identified, of which seven unique studies met criteria for inclusion; one was a randomized controlled trial, two were prospective cohort studies, and four were qualitative studies. The following social media platforms were evaluated: discussion forums (6 studies) and collaborative project (1 study).

Results

The available evidence suggests that health professionals perceived discussion forums and collaborative projects to be useful social media platforms to facilitate chronic disease self-management with patients. No relevant evidence was found regarding the use of other social media platforms. Most studies indicated positive findings regarding health professionals’ intention to use discussion forums, while the one study that used a collaborative project also indicated positive findings with its perceived ease of use as health professionals felt that it was useful to facilitate chronic disease self-management with patients. Mixed findings were seen in regards to health professionals’ perceived ease of use of discussion forums. The most common barrier to using social media platforms was the lack of time in health professionals’ schedules.

Conclusions

Discussion forums and collaborative projects appear to be promising resources for health professionals to assist their patients in self-managing their chronic conditions; however, further research comparing various social media platforms is needed.

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