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No surprise to e-patients: a new study in the journal Surgery found that when patients facing a liver transplant connected with each other, they liked it. Read the article about it in MobiHealthNews or the original paper, if you can get it. Here’s an extract from the abstract:

Despite the potential benefits of social media, health care providers are often hesitant to engage patients through these sites. Our aim was to explore how implementation of social media may affect patient engagement and satisfaction.

95% of survey respondents reported that joining the group had a positive impact on their care; and 97% reported that their main motivation for joining was to provide or receive support from other patients.

This pilot study indicates that the integration of social media into clinical practice can empower surgeons to synthesize effectively a patient support community that augments patient engagement and satisfaction.

I don’t have access to the full article text but one thing in that last sentence gives me an eyeroll: it talks about how social media can empower the surgeon!  WTH?  How about empowering the person who has the problem?  Perhaps in the full text they discuss that, too.

e-Patient takeaway:

As I said in Let Patients Help, “Patients know what patients want to know.” One of the first things I discovered when I connected to my patient community online was that they knew how I felt. And that sure made a difference to me.