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LK 102
Exploring social media participation of a diabetes community on Twitter
LK 102
Exploring social media participation of a diabetes community on Twitter
Associate Professor, University of Michigan
BackgroundA growing community of patients with diabetes, healthcare providers and health professionals and organizations are participating on online social media platforms. We are unaware of research studies... Read more

Description

Background

A growing community of patients with diabetes, healthcare providers and health professionals and organizations are participating on online social media platforms. We are unaware of research studies that have formally described these communities on twitter. The objectives of this study were to:

1) To use key diabetes related hashtags to identify a community of individuals on Twitter with interests in diabetes

2) To describe individuals who are part of a community with interests in diabetes

Methods

We used the Twitter API to extract tweets from the week of February 13, 2014 to February 20, 2014 with the following hashtags: #diabetes, #doc, #dsma, and #bgnow.  We pulled 37.8% of tweets, and identified accompanying hashtags in those tweets. We then identified the individuals who sent the tweets, extracting the usernames, descriptions, and links from the twitter profiles.  Mechanical turk workers used this information to classify individuals into the following categories: individuals with diabetes (type 1 or type 2), caregivers and family of individuals with diabetes, diabetes healthcare providers, an commercial/healthcare organizations.

 Results

We identified 10789 tweets using the hashtag #diabetes, 1779 tweets using hashtag #doc, and 2672 tweets using #dsma, and 177 tweets using #bgnow. This lead to identification of 4745 unique individuals on Twitter and we evaluated characteristics for a subset of 550 individuals.  For the population of individuals using diabetes related hashtags, patients comprised 6%, caregivers 2%, healthcare providers 9%, diabetes commercial companies 4%, and healthcare or research companies 7%.  The remaining 72% of users could not be identified. Among the patients identified, the majority (91%) had type 1 diabetes.

Conclusions

There is a diversity of participants communicating and using diabetes related hashtags, with a mix of both patients, providers, and healthcare companies. Our next steps are to use a bigger sample of tweets over a longer period of time. With this sample we will examine social network characteristics of this community, identify how different types of users are connected, and examine the content and sentiment of tweets shared within the community. Our analyses will have a particular focus on patients/caregivers and healthcare topics of discussed for understanding the patient experience of diabetes. Social media has great potential for tapping into conversations about healthcare and diabetes from the patient/caregiver perspective.

Joyce Lee, MD, MPH (“Doctor as Designer”) is a patient-centered design thinking evangelist, and a social media and technology enthusiast from the University of Michigan. As a pediatrician, diabetes specialist, and researcher, she is passionate about the notion that patient-centered participatory design combined with emerging technologies like social media, and mobile technology can transform the clinical research enterprise and the delivery of clinical care.

She is Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Michigan Medical School and the Department of Environmental Sciences at the School of Public Health and sees patients and families at Mott Hospital. The main focus of her research is on pediatric diabetes and obesity, and she uses a variety of methodologies to study these areas, including epidemiologic analyses, modeling techniques, applied clinical research, cost- effectiveness analysis, and social media/mobile technology.

She is a co-creator of HealthDesignby.us, a collaborative innovation network of individuals promoting participatory design and the creation or “making” of health by a community and she is co-director of the Mott Mobile Technology Program for Enhancing Child Health. She also serves as Social Media/Web Editor for JAMA Pediatrics. She blogs about design and health at https://medium.com/@joyclee encourages you to follow her on Twitter https://twitter.com/joyclee! and would love for you to join the health + design community here: http://healthdesignby.us7.list-manage1.com/subscribe?u=a7017016cdfe04b1abe03d358&id=60d148385c.

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