Currently submitted to: JMIR Medical Informatics
Date Submitted: Jul 31, 2019
Open Peer Review Period: Aug 5, 2019 - Sep 30, 2019
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Perceived Level of Interest in Health Research from Patients Who Use Social Networking Sites: A Secondary Data Analysis of HINTS Data
There is a need to address the factors associated with underrepresentation of socioeconomically disadvantaged groups in research participation. The growth of social networking sites over the past decade provides an opportunity to engage and educate patients from underrepresented populations about health information and research.
To use the National Cancer Institute’s Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) to determine if there is an association between social networking site use and interest in patient engagement in research, and to identify sociodemographic disparities between social networking site use and interest in patient engagement in research.
Data from the 2013 administration of HINTS were analyzed. Descriptive statistics were generated for all items, and bivariate analyses were conducted between sociodemographic variables and interest in participating in patient engaged research. Multivariate logistic regression modeling was used to examine the effects of each independent variable on respondent interest in patient-engaged research.
There was a statistically significant association between social networking site use for reading/sharing a medical topic (P< .001) and being interested in patient engagement in research, after adjusting for relevant covariates (OR=3.17; 95% CI: 2.04, 4.90). Respondents who had some college education (OR=3.13; 95% CI: 1.56, 6.27) or were college graduates (OR=3.98; 95% CI: 2.19, 7.24) had higher odds of interest in patient engagement in research, as compared to respondents with less than a high school education (P=.002). Among respondents who indicated using social networking sites for medical topics, males (P=.006) showed increased interest in patient engagement in research, as compared to females (OR=1.56; 95% CI: 1.13, 2.17). Interest in patient engagement in research did not differ significantly between different races/ethnicities, irrespective of their social networking site use (P<.001).
The relationship found between social networking site use and increased interest in patient engagement in research gives researchers an avenue to overcome barriers that have limited participation among different groups. Our study found no significant difference in this association among race/ethnicity, suggesting that social networking could be a tool to address the underrepresentation of certain groups regarding participation in research.
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