Use of Online Health Forums by Patients with Chronic Cough: Qualitative Study

Sinha, Ashnish, Porter, Tom and Wilson, Andrew (2018) Use of Online Health Forums by Patients with Chronic Cough: Qualitative Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 20 (1). ISSN 1439-4456

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Background: Online health discussion forums are used by different patient groups for sharing advice and information. Chronic cough is a common problem, and people with chronic cough use online health forums alongside formal medical therapies. Objective: The objective of this study was to assess how chronic cough sufferers use online health forums, including the treatment advice they share with one another and the possible clinical uses of online forums in chronic cough. Methods: Three open-access health forums were searched for threads related to chronic cough. Identified threads were screened against inclusion and exclusion criteria adapted from the British Thoracic Society (BTS) Guidelines related to chronic cough diagnosis. Included data were subjected to qualitative thematic analysis. All study data were cross-validated by a second author and discrepancies were resolved. Results: In total, 96 threads were included in the analysis, consisting of posts by 223 forum users. Three main themes were identified: the effect of chronic cough on the lives of patients, the treatment advice shared between users, and the provision of support within forums. Conclusions: Chronic cough symptoms had impacts on multiple aspects of patients’ health and well-being. To try and combat these issues, forum users suggested a variety of treatments to one another, ranging from mainstream traditional therapies to odd alternative remedies. The provision of support and empathy were also prominent themes in discussion threads. Online forums themselves may provide increasing benefit to users through the addition of a moderator.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: cough,chronic disease,internet,ehealth,health impact assessment,information systems,help-seeking behavior,social support
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2018 12:30
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2021 02:30
DOI: 10.2196/jmir.7975

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