Supporting Good Intentions With Good Evidence: How to Increase the Benefits of Diabetes Social Media
Reidy C., Klonoff DC., Barnard-Kelly KD.
<jats:p> Social media provides a platform for easily accessible, relevant health information and emotional and practical support at the touch of a button for millions of people with diabetes. Therein however lies a challenge. The accuracy and reliability of such information is often unknown and unverified, not all interactions are deemed supportive; practically or emotionally, and not all members of society have equitable access. Cyber bullying, requests for personal information and uninvited sharing are among the risks associated with social media, yet the use of online social media is increasing exponentially. Such reliance on web-based health information has given rise to concerns about patients’ ability to accurately assess the credibility of online sources as well as the potential detrimental effect on personal well-being and patient-provider relations. In addition, there are rising digital disparities for particular subpopulations. Further, these concerns apply to where and how health care professionals should engage or refer patients to in terms of platforms of online support. There is little doubt regarding the popularity of social media, both within and outside of the health arena but there are also concerns. This article outlines five key areas associated with social media use in people living with diabetes and presents potential considerations moving forward. We focus on (1) social media as a platform for information and support; (2) social media interactions that are not supportive; (3) lessons from the DOC; (4) concerns about accuracy, reliability, and accessibility of information; and (5) differing priorities of health care professionals and patients. </jats:p>