Patients' perspectives on COPD: findings from a social media listening study

ERJ Open Res. 2019 Feb 11;5(1):00128-2018. doi: 10.1183/23120541.00128-2018. eCollection 2019 Feb.


We utilised social media listening (SML) to obtain patients' perspectives on symptoms, diagnosis and comorbidities associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and its impact on patients' quality of life (QoL). A comprehensive search on social media platforms was performed for English language content posted between July 2016 and January 2018 using COPD-related terms. Social Studio, a social media data aggregator tool, was used to capture relevant records. The content was manually curated to analyse and map psychological aspects with descriptive statistics applied on aggregated findings. A total of 849 posts from patients or caregivers ("patient insights") were considered for the analysis, corresponding to postings of 695 unique individuals. Based on 734 mentions of symptoms from 849 posts by potential patients/caregivers, cough (27%), mucus (25%) and shortness of breath (21%) were the most frequent; analysis by perceived COPD severity indicated these to be common across all severities. Difficulty in mucus clearance (24% of 268 mentions) and sadness (40% of 129 mentions) were top among the aspects impacting physical and emotional QoL, respectively. SML from patients with COPD indicated that relief from cough, mucus production and shortness of breath would be the most desirable aspects of disease management from a patient's perspective.