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LK 102
An exploratory study into how the clinical condition of diabetes is discussed on Twitter
LK 102
An exploratory study into how the clinical condition of diabetes is discussed on Twitter
PhD Candidate, University of Edinburgh
BackgroundTechnological advances over the past decade have resulted in increasing numbers of the global population having access to the Internet and in particular social media sites such as Facebook,... Read more

Description

Background

Technological advances over the past decade have resulted in increasing numbers of the global population having access to the Internet and in particular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube as well as health specific social media sites such as PatientsLikeMe. Although not solely related to public health, the increasing use of the Internet to search for health related information, connect and communicate with patients and healthcare professionals as well as express opinions and share experiences, has lead to an influx of public health research into its potential use.

Twitter in particular has been used as a source of data in numerous public health research studies aimed at understanding the online support, behaviour and information patients receive as well as in monitoring disease outbreaks. Research studies published by the Pew Research Centre indicate that 18% of online adults use Twitter compared to other social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn and that diabetes was the 9th most commonly searched condition in 2010 by people looking for information online. Despite this there are few studies that have explored how the topic of diabetes is discussed on social media sites such as Twitter, by whom and for what purpose.

Objective

To assess the relevance of diabetes-related postings on Twitter, to the clinical condition of diabetes and the topics and intentions represented in these messages

Methods

This exploratory study applies the PRISMA guidelines for conducting systematic reviews to the identification, screening and selection of diabetes related tweets that were posted in September 2013. This data was extracted from Twitter and analyzed in a two-stage process. Firstly, the search term “diabetes” was used and tweets were screened and selected based on predefined inclusion criteria. Recurrent topics were identified using the constant comparison method across four categories; characteristic of the tweet, content of the tweet, intention of the tweet and stakeholder group for which the tweet is relevant. This will be analyzed using content analysis to classify and count the tweets as well as cluster analysis techniques in order to represent their statistical associations and differentiations.

This is research in progress and the results and analysis are currently underway.

Joanna is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Population Health Sciences in the UK. Her research interests include social media use by patients suffering from chronic conditions as well as the use of social media for the  public health surveillance of non-communicable diseases. Alongside her research, Joanna is a Senior Manager for Ernst & Young's Advisory Centre and works with Life Sciences and Pharmaceutical companies to harness new and emerging technologies that support the digital transformation of their businesses.

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