Posted in #HCSM

Why Online Patient Communities are Better than Real Life Support Groups

The Digital Health Corner

A support group  has many potential benefits, some of which include improving coping skills, reducing anxiety, depression, isolation, ignorance about the condition and others.  Online patient communities (OPCs) are a recent phenomenon.  Some are open (with respect to type of member or fee) and some are more focused and closed.  Irrespective of the type, OPCs have blossomed. It is a major indication of social media’s penetration into healthcare (or vice versa) and why physicians need to establish a presence in social media.  While there are still reasons why support groups are popular, OPCs have definite advantages. I will highlight a few of them.

1.    Many patients and caregivers cannot physically attend a support group. In the early phase of a support group of patients with implantable defibrillators I led for over 20 years, I was informed of scheduling conflicts and transportation difficulties (some patients coming from distances…

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