Social media tools can be effective in maintaining participation in online health programs, according to a University of Michigan Medical School study, Healthcare IT News reports.
Researchers found that an interactive social media site added to an Internet-based walking program significantly lowered the number of participants who dropped out.
The study showed that:
- 79% of participants who used an online forum for group motivation remained in the 16-week program; and
- 66% of those who used the walking site without the social media components finished the program.
According to researchers, the findings indicate that adding social media features to online programs can reduce attrition, as well as costs associated with traditional interventions, such as face-to-face meetings.
The study authors added that cutting down on attrition rates could result in more positive health outcomes and greater cost savings.
The findings will be published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research this month (Merrill, Healthcare IT News, 12/7).