An online health community for aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage patients: a pilot study
SourceJMIR Research Protocols, 3, 4, (2014), pp. e60
Article / Letter to editor
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JMIR Research Protocols
SubjectRadboudumc 0: Other Research RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 10: Reconstructive and regenerative medicine RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
BACKGROUND: Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) is a condition affecting relatively young patients and has high rates of morbidity and mortality. Online health communities have emerged to fill the void for patient advocacy and information, allowing individuals with shared experiences and chronic disorders to connect. OBJECTIVE: We have developed an online health community for aSAH patients, and this pilot study was conducted to evaluate it from a patient's perspective. METHODS: We implemented an online, members-only, health community (MijnSAB, translation: MySAH) in addition to the usual aSAH care at Radboudumc, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. A questionnaire that was sent to consecutive aSAH patients was used to evaluate the usability and utility of MySAH. Answers were provided using a 5-point Likert scale. There was also one open-ended question asking about what was missing from the MySAH tool. RESULTS: In total, 66 consecutive patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage were informed about the online health community. Of 64 potential MySAH users, 26 patients gained access to MySAH, 20 of whom were willing to participate in the evaluation. Those who used the community were younger (P=.03) and in a better condition at discharge (P=.03). The patients were positive about MySAH's contribution to the quality of their care, but not to their quality of life. Most patients (18/20, 90%) reported that they would recommend the community to others in their position. Open suggestions on how to improve the tool included more frequent blogs, including by a rehabilitation specialist. CONCLUSIONS: This pilot study showed that the online health community, MySAH, has a beneficial effect on the aftercare of patients suffering from aSAH because it gives easy access to relevant information provided by peers or caregivers. Due to the variable clinical outcomes after aSAH, the tool will mainly be useful for a select group of patients (with a better clinical outcome).
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