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Background: Despite reported benefits, many women do not attend breast cancer support groups. Abundant online resources for support exist, but information regarding the effectiveness of participation is lacking. We report the results of a Twitter breast cancer support community participant survey.Objective: The aim was to determine the effectiveness of social media as a tool for breast cancer patient education and decreasing anxiety.
Methods: The Breast Cancer Social Media Twitter support community (#BCSM) began in July 2011. Institutional review board approval with a waiver of informed consent was obtained for a deidentified survey that was posted for 2 weeks on Twitter and on the #BCSM blog and Facebook page.
Results: There were 206 respondents to the survey. In all, 92.7% (191/206) were female. Respondents reported increased knowledge about breast cancer in the following domains: overall knowledge (80.9%, 153/189), survivorship (85.7%, 162/189), metastatic breast cancer (79.4%, 150/189), cancer types and biology (70.9%, 134/189), clinical trials and research (66.1%, 125/189), treatment options (55.6%, 105/189), breast imaging (56.6%, 107/189), genetic testing and risk assessment (53.9%, 102/189), and radiotherapy (43.4%, 82/189). Participation led 31.2% (59/189) to seek a second opinion or bring additional information to the attention of their treatment team and 71.9% (136/189) reported plans to increase their outreach and advocacy efforts as a result of participation. Levels of reported anxiety before and after participation were analyzed: 29 of 43 (67%) patients who initially reported “high or extreme” anxiety reported “low or no” anxiety after participation (P<.001). Also, no patients initially reporting low or no anxiety before participation reported an increase to high or extreme anxiety after participation.
Conclusions: This study demonstrates that breast cancer patients’ perceived knowledge increases and their anxiety decreases by participation in a Twitter social media support group.
It’s no doubt that patient engagement is among the top healthcare priorities. For medical providers, it’s imperative to interact with their patients and empower them with the right information at the right time. A new concept named Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionized the world with its vast capabilities of connecting the people and things with each other, and healthcare industry is no exception.
According to IDC Health Insights, 35.1% of healthcare organizations have already implemented IoT either in their pilot or production stages. This is because IoT allows medical providers to give personalized treatment to their patients and enhance their overall experience by proactively engaging with them.
Although healthcare industry is still in the process of adapting to new IoT technologies, yet its contribution towards healthcare sector is undeniably invaluable.
Although IoT brings in its own set of challenges, yet its contribution towards patient engagement is unarguable. According to ABI Research, the sale of wearable medical devices will see an influx in the future and is expected to reach more than 100 million devices annually. Another report by IMS Research cites that the wearable devices or the devices that are close to the body produce more realistic results. This indicates towards the possibility of seeing more faces of IoT based technologies in future. In order to use it in the most effective way, the healthcare firms now need to understand how they can truly harness its power in the interests of their patients.