Patient Perceptions of Retinal Detachment Management and Recovery Through Social Media and Identifying Underserved Areas

By Hana B. Ruran, Carter R. Petty, MA, Dean Eliott, MD, Rajesh C. Rao, MD, Wanda Phipatanakul, MD, MS, and Benjamin K. Young, MD MS

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Citation

Ruran H, Petty C, Eliott D, Rao R, Phipatanakul W, Young B. Patient perceptions of retinal detachment management and recovvery throughh social media and identifying undeserved areas. HPHR. 2022;69. 

Patient Perceptions of Retinal Detachment Management and Recovery Through Social Media and Identifying Underserved Areas

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Background/Purpose

Social media support groups can provide accessibility to advice and emotional regarding medical topics, such as retinal detachment repair, but this is almost universally provided by laypersons. We sought to determine how topics related to retinal detachment repair are associated with various emotional responses and the spread of misinformation, as identified through an online social media support group.

Methods

Retrospective observational study of the largest Facebook support group for retinal detachment from 03/19/2021 to 07/19/2021. Members of the support group that posted during the study period. Comments were coded by content (Pre-procedural, Peri-procedural Post procedural, Repeat procedures) and participant response (Emotional responses, Asking for medical advice, and Misinformation). Associations between content and responses were examined using Pearson’s chi-squared test, two-sample t-test, and linear regression. 

Results

Posts that included written comments from the study period were analyzed. Negative emotional responses appeared in 30% of posts and positive emotional responses were in 16% of posts. Misinformation was more likely to appear in pre-procedure posts (5.3% versus 1.4%, p=0.03). Negative emotional responses trended towards being more common in topics related to repeat procedures (40% vs 28%), although this did not reach statistical significance (p=0.06). 

Conclusions

Surgeons should be aware that patients frequently express negative experiences on this forum, asked for medical advice, even in the post-operative period, and that these posts generated high engagement. Misinformation may be propagated in support groups, though less commonly with regards to post-procedural questions.

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