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Variation in Quality of ICD Advice on Patient Message Boards

Overall, 24.4 percent of instances of medical advice were considered inappropriate for most patients

MONDAY, April 9, 2018 (HealthDay News) — The quality of advice provided on patient-facing internet message boards discussing implanted cardiac defibrillator (ICD) treatment varies, with about 25 percent of the advice considered inappropriate for most patients, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research 2018 Scientific Sessions, held from April 6 to 7 in Arlington, Va.

Using a mixed-deductive framework, Christopher Knoepke, Ph.D., from the University of Colorado in Denver, and colleagues qualitatively analyzed two years of discussions appearing on a dedicated message board for ICD patients. Discussions were analyzed for instances in which members provided advice; the advice was characterized for topical area and quality.

The researchers found that within 127 discussions there were 82 instances of medical advice. Advice related to six topics: device information, programming, cardiovascular disease, lead management, activity restriction, and management of other conditions. Fifty percent of the advice was deemed generally appropriate across all advice, while 24.4 percent was inappropriate for most patients, 6.1 percent was controversial, and 19.5 percent was lacking sufficient context. Between topical areas, the proportions of quality categories varied.

“Our findings indicate that patients should be advised that discussions on these online message boards can provide some good, basic information, but more complicated and in-depth advice may be problematic,” Knoepke said in a statement.

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