Should patients with diabetes be encouraged to integrate social media into their care plan?

Future Sci OA. 2018 Jul 31;4(7):FSO323. doi: 10.4155/fsoa-2018-0021. eCollection 2018 Jul.


Aim: To evaluate the use of social media of individuals with diabetes mellitus (DM).

Materials & methods: Both web-based and in-clinic surveys were collected from individuals with DM. Descriptive and correlation analyses were employed to evaluate respondents' diabetes-specific social networking site behaviors.

Results: Forty-five patients with DM completed the web-based survey and 167, the clinic-based survey, of whom only 40 visited diabetes-specific social networking sites. Analysis of online survey data indicated that self-reported adherence to lifestyle recommendations was significantly correlated (p < 0.01) with visiting the sites. Clinic-based survey data found that patients who reported using DM-specific web sites monitored home glucose values more often and had better compliance with insulin administration (both p < 0.05) compared with nonusers.

Conclusion: This study provides insight into why individuals visit DM-specific social networking sites. Certain self-management behaviors may improve as a result of visiting these sites. Further work is needed to explore how to leverage social media technology to assist patients with the management of DM.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus; endocrinology; obesity; personalized medicine; social media; social networking.