Online Patient Platforms Can Improve Epilepsy Management

July 23, 2015 in News

An online patient platform can help individuals with epilepsy improve self-management of their condition, according to a study published in the journal Neurology, Medscape reports.

Details of Study

The study was based on the experiences of 92 veterans with epilepsy who used PatientsLikeMe, an online patient community.

Participants answered questionnaires about how they managed their epilepsy, before and after using the platform for at least six weeks. After the follow-up survey was administered, researchers also asked the participants to respond to a user satisfaction questionnaire.

Findings

Overall, the study found that respondents improved their “self-management” and “self-efficacy” after using the PatientsLikeMe platform.

According to lead author John Hixson of the University of California-San Francisco, “Self-efficacy measures whether a patient knows the right thing to do, while self-management measures what the patient actually does.”

Meanwhile, nearly 50% of respondents said that the online platform:

  • Gave them more or better control of their condition; and
  • Helped them better understand their condition.

The online platform has the biggest effect on “information management,” according to the study. Information management measures included whether patients used systems to track the symptoms of their condition.

Hixson said, “The sorts of things that are addressed on these patient platforms are things that are often missed out in a consultation with a physician, who typically has to cram the whole appointment into eight minutes,” adding that physicians “need to know they can direct patients to these sites where there is a wealth of information” (Hughes, Medscape, 7/22).

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