Social media websites has become one of the many new forums for doctors and patients alike to learn about chronic conditions. Some will even say it serves as a support group, having the opportunity to communicate with others experiencing the same condition.
Researchers are currently evaluating a new social media tool that will be called Wellaho, to aid in those dealing with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Wellaho was developed by Sanitas Inc., which is an interactive online system created to help patient’s manager their health outside the hospital.
According to the American Diabetes Association, there are 25.8 million children and adults who have diabetes, which accounts for about eight percent of the population. Of those, 18.8 million people have been diagnosed and 7 million have not been diagnosed, while there are about 79 million who have prediabetes.
According to Jason Bronner, MD, associate clinical professor at UC Sand Diego School of Medicine and internist at UC San Diego Health System, the trial will investigate how a social media website may enhance patient care. The study will consist of a controlled group of patients, their friends, family and physicians. They will measure changes in knowledge, attitudes and self-care towards diabetes. The site will provide self-monitoring devices, customized evidence-based education for the patient’s particular condition, and it will track weight, blood pressure and glycostated hemoglobin. Participants will be measured by how many times they log on to the site, duration of use and the amount of invited participants.
“Social networking provides a common way for patients with chronic disease to learn about their condition while interacting with others in similar situations, as opposed to open networks, the use of this tool allows us to ensure that the medical information they receive and share is accurate, safe and absent of advertising.” Bronner said in a statement.