Providing Support To Patients Through Online Patient Communities

Support groups can provide a variety of benefits and advantages, some of which include the following:

  • improving the ability to cope
  • reducing depression
  • reducing anxiety
  • helping others become knowledgeable of conditions and illnesses

Online patient communications are becoming very popular as the years go by, especially since the introduction of social media. Social media has found a steady presence in healthcare and this is one of the reasons why physicians should establish their own presence in social media. While we do believe that support groups will continue to be impactful and have their benefits, we also believe that online patient communities are also beneficial and advantageous.

One of the reasons why online patient communities offer so many advantages is because many patients and their caregivers are not able to physically attend support groups. Many patients and caregivers have a variety of scheduling and transportation conflicts during their time as members of a support group. 

Online patient communities provide logistical convenience to patients and caregivers. The conversations that take place in online patient communities can occur in real-time or the conversations can be accessed when the patient has time. In online patient communities, you will likely not have to worry about people falling asleep or becoming listless and restless during the meetings. In addition, the full conversations will also be available for review after the online meeting has concluded.

Often times, many physicians will not take part in support groups due to their busy schedules and other obligations. While we are aware there are guidelines for physicians when it comes to social media, physicians can still participate in online groups and meetings by addressing general questions about an illness or procedure. Physicians will also be able to get a better view of what type of concerns patients have as they express those concerns in the online patient communities.

We know that online patient communities, portals, social media posts will not be a substitute for real-life exchanges, but they can provide a refreshing experience as people all over the world can come together and support one another. 

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