Online Program

Chronic patients and social networking: Research lessons from a virtual community in the basque country

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 9:30 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.

Gonzalo Bacigalupe, EdD, MPH, College of Education and Human Development, University of Massachusetts Boston & IKERBASQUE Basque Foundation for Science, Boston, MA
Roberto Nuno, PhD, The Institute of Health Innovation (o+berri), Basque Foundation for Health Innovation and Research, Sondika, Bizkaia 48150, Spain
Javier Bikandi, PhD, The Institute of Health Innovation (o+berri), Basque Foundation for Health Innovation and Research, Sondika, Bizkaia, 48150, Spain
The Basque health system has systematically adopted various forms of healthcare information and communication technologies to address the challenge of chronic illness. The implementation of emerging technology in health care includes virtual communities of practice, electronic health records in primary care, and other innovations that weave public health and primary care interventions. The design and implementation of a virtual support network for chronic patients was launched in 2012 after piloting it with the participation of self-help patient associations. This research reports on a mixed method study that systematically analysed, via an online survey and focus groups the characteristics of the community, its impact on quality of life, and an exploration of its bearing in addressing the growing challenge of chronic illness. Methodological, conceptual, policy, and programmatic lessons will be discussed. Despite the growth of social networking opportunities for patients across the world has not been accompanied by efforts at collecting evidence of its impact. The virtual community of patients that this research project focused on is part of a public health care strategy offering rich lessons of the power that technology could have in public health and healthcare prevention and intervention in local and global contexts.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Define and characterize a virtual community of patients Discuss the ability of social networking in empowering patients Evaluate participatory methodological approaches to study virtual communities Discuss the challenges and opportunities for supporting patients via social networking and virtual communities

Keyword(s): Information Technology, Chronic Illness

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: NA

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Professor UMASS; Ikerbasque Researcher University of Deusto. Leads the Undergraduate Minority Health Scholars Program of the UMass Center for Health Equity Intervention Research (CHEIR) (NIMHHD P-60); associate senior editor of Family, Systems, & Health; published on the impact of emerging technologies, presented almost every year at APHA for last 15 years. Senior Fulbright Research Fellow in BCN 2004; received funding by NIA, CMMS, APA Foundation, Bizkaia Lab, Spanish Minister of Education, Basque Government, o+Berri, etc
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.