Association for Healthcare Social Media
Association for Healthcare Social Media
Source/Disclosures
Source:

Chu B, et al. Analyzing crowdsourced dermatologic consults on Reddit. Presented at: Association for Healthcare Social Media meeting; July 26, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Chu reports no relevant financial disclosures.
July 28, 2020
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Patients increasingly turn to social media for dermatologic diagnoses, treatment advice

Source/Disclosures
Source:

Chu B, et al. Analyzing crowdsourced dermatologic consults on Reddit. Presented at: Association for Healthcare Social Media meeting; July 26, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Chu reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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Patients are increasingly seeking diagnoses and treatment advice from social media, according to a study presented at the Association for Healthcare Social Media virtual meeting.

Researchers collected and analyzed comments posted to r/Dermatology, a sub-thread on the Reddit platform.

“Reddit is an enormous platform with more than 430 million users,” Brian Chu, a medical student at Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, said. “The unique structure of Reddit is an optimal platform to crowdsource medical opinions.”

All posts from 2016 through 2019 were collected, with a random sample of 160 per year selected. Promotional posts and deleted items were excluded from the data, leaving 427 posts.

The majority of posters (84%) were seeking a diagnosis via the platform, with many of these including images. The study found 15% of posts were asking about second opinions, having already seen a physician, while 21% were asking advice on the treatment of an existing condition and 4% queried the need for in-person health care.

Sixty-nine percent of posts received at least one comment. For those looking to Reddit for diagnoses, 35 received comments from self-described dermatologists.

“Reddit is a powerful platform for dermatologic conditions, and people are looking for advice on diagnoses, treatment and referrals,” Chu said. “While Reddit offers anonymity that facilitates open discussion, it is impossible to verify the accuracy of the advice.”

Chu believes this study can help health care providers to be proactive and prepared when their patients seek out and receive information via social media.

“Physicians should be anticipating that their patients are going to be using or reading communities like r/Dermatology, and they should be prepared to counter misinformation,” he said.