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Social Media Use in Chronic Disease: A Systematic Review and Novel Taxonomy.

dianagosalvez Diana Gosálvez Prados last modified 21/12/2015 11:17

The purpose of this study is to evaluate clinical outcomes from applications of contemporary social media in chronic disease; to develop a conceptual taxonomy to categorize, summarize, and then analyze the current evidence base; and to suggest a framework for future studies on this topic.

Patel R, Chang T, Greysen SR, Chopra V. Social Media Use in Chronic Disease: A Systematic Review and Novel Taxonomy. Am J Med. 2015 Dec;128(12):1335-50. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002934315005653



We performed a systematic review of MEDLINE via PubMed (January 2000 to January 2015) of studies reporting clinical outcomes on leading contemporary social media (ie, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, YouTube) use in 10 chronic diseases. Two reviewers independently performed data extraction and quality assessment; characterization of study outcomes as positive, negative, neutral, or undefined impact; and inductive, thematic analysis to develop our taxonomy.


Of 378 citations identified, 42 studies examining the use of Facebook (n = 16), blogs (n = 13), Twitter (n = 8), wikis (n = 5), and YouTube (n = 4) on outcomes in cancer (n = 14), depression (n = 13), obesity (n = 9), diabetes (n = 4), heart disease (n = 3), stroke (n = 2), and chronic lower respiratory tract infection (n = 1) were included. Studies were classified as support (n = 16), patient education (n = 10), disease modification (n = 6), disease management (n = 5), and diagnosis (n = 5) within our taxonomy. The overall impact of social media on chronic disease was variable, with 48% of studies indicating benefit, 45% neutral or undefined, and 7% suggesting harm. Among studies that showed benefit, 85% used either Facebook or blogs, and 40% were based within the domain of support.


Using social media to provide social, emotional, or experiential support in chronic disease, especially with Facebook and blogs, appears most likely to improve patient care.

Patel R, Chang T, Greysen SR, Chopra V.

Norte América