A developing feature of modern health care is the formation of eHealth communities based upon particular disease conditions. An analysis of one such forum dedicated to peripheral arterial disease indicated that this form of communications outlet can provide “a rich source of information related to the experiences of patients with PAD, their treatment preferences, questions they consider important, and terminology that they use,” according to a study published in.
The researchers collected 103 posts from an online open access PAD Medical Support Community forum () based in the United States. Posts were selected from PAD-specific threads and were analyzed for thematic content, common vernacular, and self-reported characteristics of the participants using a qualitative analysis software program. In addition, the investigators assessed disease-specific comments with regard to their match to contemporary PAD treatment guidelines, according to Peris Castaneda, a medical student, and her colleagues at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
They found that, among original posts, the most common themes included PAD diagnosis and differential (25%), epidemiology and pathophysiology (21%), disease symptoms and effects on activities of daily living (15%), and health-care provider recommendations (13%). Negative posts related to experiences with health-care providers were identified in 10 of 18 (55.6%), while overall, 15.9% of posts mentioned medical advice that was inconsistent with clinical treatment guidelines.
“This information can be used to understand unmet patient needs, develop educational resources, and improve communication,” the authors wrote. “We hope that the results of this analysis can be applied to the development of additional resources targeting unmet patient and family needs and improved communication,” they concluded.
The were no disclosures reported in the article.
SOURCE: Castaneda P et al. .