Past research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project showed that online resources, including advice from peers, are a significant source of health information for patients in the United States. Now Inspire, a company that builds and manages online support communities for patients and caregivers, has teamed up with Manhattan Research and the National Psoriasis Foundation to better understand the role of social media in the lives of chronic-disease patients.
The study was conducted online among 317 psoriasis patients from the Inspire and National Psoriasis Foundation’s TalkPsoriasis community during the second quarter of 2012. Findings from the study were recently posted online and show:
- Psoriasis patients are avid users of both general and psoriasis-relates social media, with 70 percent of this audience using any type of online community, social network, message board or blog at least several times a week, and 44 percent using psoriasis-specific social media multiple times per week.
- Surveyed psoriasis patients say they tend to rely on communities more for practical advice related to their disease than emotional support. About 8 in 10 say they used psoriasis social media because they wanted to learn how others managed the disease as well as get tips and ideas that they couldn't find anywhere else.
- Among surveyed psoriasis patients who disagree that they have lots of support from family and friend when it comes to dealing with and managing psoriasis half say they use online communities regularly on a long-term basis, compared with just under one-third surveyed psoriasis patients who agree they have this type of support.
- Moderate to severe psoriasis patients are more apt to rely on psoriasis user-generated content for emotional support than their counterparts suffering from mild forms of psoriasis. Half of the moderate to severe psoriasis patients say they use social media for connecting with others for emotional support, compared to one-third of surveyed mild psoriasis patients.
Previously: Patient online peer group offers community, drives research, A detailed look at how Americans search for health information online and Survey shows patients with rare diseases and their caregivers are avid Internet users