Patients with chronic illnesses such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) have been more keen to utilize the Internet and in particular, social media to obtain patient educational information in recent years. It is important for the gastroenterologist to be aware of these modalities and how they might affect information exchange and ultimately, disease management. This article addresses the current prevalence of social media use, advent of mobile health applications, social media usage in patients with chronic conditions, usage amongst providers, and most notably, the usage and preferences in IBD patients. Over the last decade there has been an increasing desire from patients to receive educational material about their disease through social media. We reviewed the medical literature on the quality of IBD-related information on social media. Given the disparity of information available on the Internet, we remark on the quality of this information and stress the need for further research to assess the validity of IBD information posted on social media.
Article first published online 19 February 2016.
*Department of Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine;
†Department of Emerging Media, Boston University School of Communications; and
‡Section of Gastroenterology, Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts.
Reprints: Francis A. Farraye, MD, MSc, Section of Gastroenterology, Boston University Medical Center, 85 East Concord Street, 7th Floor, Boston, MA 02118 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
The authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.
Received October 18, 2015
Accepted November 2, 2015