Does the Internet provide patients or clinicians with useful information regarding faecal incontinence? An observational study

C A Leo, J Murphy, J D Hodgkinson, C J Vaizey, Y Maeda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract / Description of output

BACKGROUND: The Internet has become an important platform for information communication. This study aim to investigate the utility of social media and search engines to disseminate faecal incontinence information.

METHODS: We looked into Social media platforms and search engines. There was not a direct patient recruitment and any available information from patients was already on public domain at the time of search. A quantitative analysis of types and volumes of information regarding faecal incontinence was made.

RESULTS: Twelve valid pages were identified on Facebook: 5 (41%) pages were advertising commercial incontinence products, 4 (33%) pages were dedicated to patients support groups and 3 (25%) pages provided healthcare information. Also we found 192 Facebook posts. On Twitter, 2890 tweets were found of which 51% tweets provided healthcare information; 675 (45%) were sent by healthcare professionals to patients, 530 tweets (35.3%) were between healthcare professionals, 201 tweets (13.4%) were from medical journals or scientific books and 103 tweets (7%) were from hospitals or clinics with information about events and meetings. The second commonest type of tweets was advertising commercial incontinence products 27%. Patients tweeted to exchange information and advice between themselves (20.5%). In contrast, search engines as Google/Yahoo/Bing had a higher proportion of healthcare information (over 70%).

CONCLUSION: Internet appears to have potential to be a useful platform for patients to learn about faecal incontinence and share information; however, given one lack of focus of available data, patients may struggle to identify valid and useful information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-76
Number of pages6
JournalIl Giornale di chirurgia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Complementary Therapies
  • Direct-to-Consumer Advertising
  • Fecal Incontinence/psychology
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Information Seeking Behavior
  • Internet
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Physicians
  • Self-Help Groups
  • Social Media


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