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Journal Description

i-JMR is a general medical journal with a focus on innovation in health, health care, and medicine - through new medical techniques and innovative ideas and/or research, including—but not limited to—technology, clinical informatics, sociotechnical and organizational health care innovations, or groundbreaking research.

Published by JMIR Publications, publisher of JMIR, the leading eHealth/mHealth journal (Impact Factor 2017: 4.671), i-JMR is a JMIR "sister journal" with a projected impact factor of about 2.03 (2016) which features a rapid and thorough peer-review process, professional copyediting, professional production of PDF, XHTML, and XML proofs.

i-JMR is indexed in PubMed and archived in PubMed Central.

i-JMR is also indexed in Clarivate Analytics (formerly the IP and Science Division of Thomson Reuters) new Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI).


Recent Articles:

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: yanalya; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Impact of Emotional Support, Informational Support, and Norms of Reciprocity on Trust Toward the Medical Aesthetic Community: The Moderating Effect of Core...


    Background: The consumption of medical aesthetic services has become popular in recent years. Many people have purchased medical aesthetic services and treatments in pursuit of self-beauty. When members of online medical aesthetic communities actively participate in discussions and encourage and support one another, there is an increase in community commitment, trust toward each other, and trust toward the community, ultimately promoting social sharing in an environment of positive feedback. Objective: This study aimed to explore via the theory of social support—grounded in a deeper social capabilities framework developed by Khan following the Nobel laureate Amartya Sen’s groundbreaking work—whether emotional support, informational support, and norms of reciprocity in online communities impact group members in terms of creating trust toward other members. This enhances trust toward the community and generates a sense of community commitment, ultimately impacting social buying intention and social sharing intention. Methods: This study used IBM SPSS and AMOS to analyze data. Data were collected through online questionnaires in online medical aesthetic community forums, thereby producing samples that were both representative and accurate. To understand whether core self-evaluation (CSE) is a moderator in the relationship between social sharing intention and social buying intention, this study averaged the point of CSEs in the sample after statistical analysis, dividing the sample into 2 groups. Results: The results showed that emotional support and norms of reciprocity positively impact trust toward members, and trust toward members positively impact trust toward the community. This generates trust transfer, which positively impacts social buying intention and social sharing intention. At the same time, CSE is a moderator variable between trust toward the community and social buying intention, but CSE is not a moderator variable between trust toward the community and social sharing intention. Conclusions: This study revealed that when members of online medical aesthetic communities actively participate in discussions and encourage and support one another, community commitment, trust toward each other, and trust toward the community increases, ultimately promoting social sharing and buying intentions.

  • Source: Foter; Copyright: Foter; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Awareness and Level of Knowledge About Surgical Site Infections and Risks of Wound Infection Among Medical Physicians in King Abdulaziz University Hospital:...


    Background: Surgical site infections (SSIs) are one of the leading causes of death, and its prevention is a key element of applying the concept of patient safety and quality care. Objective: This study aimed to assess the level of knowledge about SSIs and risks of wound infection among medical physicians in King Abdulaziz University Hospital. Methods: All surgical and medical consultants, specialists, residents, and medical interns were invited to participate in the study. A 20-Item multiple-choice questionnaire was developed by reviewing the previous literature and with the help of a group of certified surgeons to assess the level of knowledge in all participants. Results: A total of 119 doctors were included in this study. Among all respondents, 92 (77.3%) were intern doctors, 16 (13.4%) were resident doctors, and 11 (9.2%) were specialist doctors. Moreover, 66 (55.5%) doctors knew the definition of SSI. Only one-quarter, that is, 30 (25.2%) doctors knew about the incidence of SSI. In addition, 8 doctors (6.7%) had good knowledge, 75 (63.0%) had fair knowledge, and 36 (30.2%) had poor knowledge regarding SSI according to this study. Conclusions: Level of knowledge about SSIs and risks of wound infections among medical physicians should be improved to ensure better wound care and quality care for the patients.

  • Source: Air Force Medical Service (Stacey Geiger); Copyright: US Air Force; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Evaluating Information Quality of Revised Patient Education Information on Colonoscopy: It Is New But Is It Improved?


    Background: Previous research indicates that patients and their families have many questions about colonoscopy that are not fully answered by existing resources. We developed revised forms on colonoscopy bowel preparation and on the procedure itself. Objective: As the goal of the revised materials is to have improved information relative to currently available information, we were interested in how revised information compared with what is currently available in terms of information quality and patient preference. Methods: Participants were asked to review one at a time the Revised and Current versions of Colonoscopy bowel preparation instructions (study 1) and About Colonoscopy (study 2). The order of administration of the Revised and Current versions was randomly counterbalanced to assess order effects. Respondents rated each form along the following dimensions: amount, clarity, trustworthiness, readability and understandability, how new or familiar the information was, and reassurance. Participants were asked which form they preferred and 4 questions about why they preferred it. Open-ended questions asked participants to describe likes and dislikes of the forms and suggestions for improvement. Results: The study 1 and study 2 samples were similar. Overall, in study 1, 62.4% preferred the Revised form, 28.1% preferred the Current form, and 6.7% were not sure. Overall, in study 2, 50.5% preferred the Revised form, 31.1% preferred the Current form, and 18.4% were not sure. Almost 75% of those in study 1 who received the Revised form first, preferred it, compared with less than half of those who received it first in study 2. In study 1, 75% of those without previous colonoscopy experience preferred the Revised form, compared with more than half of those who had previously undergone a colonoscopy. The study 1 logistic regression analysis demonstrated that participants were more likely to prefer the Revised form if they had viewed it first and had no previous experience with colonoscopy. In study 2, none of the variables assessed were associated with a preference for the Revised form. In comparing the 2 forms head-to-head, participants who preferred the Revised form in study 1 rated it as clearer compared with those who preferred the Current form. Finally, many participants who preferred the Revised form indicated in the open-ended questions that they liked it because it had more information than the Current form and that it had good visual information. Conclusions: This study is one of the first to evaluate 2 different patient education resources in a head-to-head comparison using the same participants in a within-subjects design. This approach was useful in comparing revised educational information with current resources. Moving forward, this knowledge translation approach of a head-to-head comparison of 2 different information sources could be taken to develop and refine information sources on other health issues.

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: Teerawut Masawat; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Health Topics on Facebook Groups: Content Analysis of Posts in Multiple Sclerosis Communities


    Background: Social network sites (SNSs) are being increasingly used to exchange health information between patients and practitioners, pharmaceutical companies, and research centers. Research contributions have explored the contents of such exchanges discussed online. They have categorized the topics discussed and explored the engagement levels of these discussions. Objective: This research aimed at investigating the potential role of SNSs in health care. Specifically it provides an information-clustering analysis of the health information available on SNSs and develops a research design that allows an investigation of this information in enhancing health care research and delivery. In addition, this research aims at testing whether SNSs are valid tools for sharing drug-related information by patients. Methods: This research is based on a specific chronic disease: multiple sclerosis. We searched Facebook to identify and research the social media groups related to this condition. The analysis was restricted to public groups for privacy concerns. We created a database by downloading posts from two main groups (in the English language). Subsequently, we performed a content analysis and statistical analysis; this allowed us to explore the differences between categories, their engagement levels, and the types of posts shared. The mean level of engagement for each topic was analyzed using a 1-way analysis of variance. Results: From a sample of 7029 posts, initial results showed that there were 8 information categories that resonated (percentage of times the topic appears in our sample) with those who post on Facebook: information and awareness (4923/7029, 70.04%), event advertising and petitions (365/7029, 5.19%), fundraising (354/7029, 5.04%), patient support (217/7029, 3.09%), drug discussion (144/7029, 2.05%), clinical trials and research studies (59/7029, 0.84%), product and drug advertising (48/7029, 0.68%), and other (919/7029, 13.07%). Initial analysis showed that comments and likes (as measures of engagement level) are the most frequent indicators and measures of level of engagement. Our results show a high engagement level (in terms of views, likes, comments, etc) for patient support and information and awareness. In addition, although drug discussion had a low resonance, it had an unexpected highly engagement level which we found worthy of further exploration. Conclusions: SNSs have become important tools for patients and health care practitioners to share or seek information. We identified the type of information shared and how the public reacted to it. Our research confirmed that the topics discussed in social media related to specific diseases such as multiple sclerosis are similar to the information categories observed by other researchers. We unexpectedly found other categories such as drug discussion. These and other results of our study enhance our understanding of how content is disseminated and perceived within a specific disease-based community. We concluded that this information has useful implications in the design of prevention campaigns, educational programs, and chronic disease management.

  • Source: PxHere; Copyright: Fox; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Internet Usage by Polish Patients With Multiple Sclerosis: A Multicenter Questionnaire Study


    Background: The internet is a source of knowledge and medium widely used in services that facilitate access to information and networking. Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients find the possibility of acquiring information relating to their condition particularly rewarding. Objective: We aimed to identify Polish MS patients’ preferences by analyzing a percentage of internet users and determining the most common search subjects and patients’ approach to information on the internet. Disability connected with the condition, its duration, and other factors that influence patients’ internet use were examined along with instances of relations established through the internet and their durability. Methods: The study examined 1045 patients (731 women, 314 men) treated in 10 Polish MS centers, of whom 932 (89.19%) declared to be internet users. Their average age was 40.65 (SD 11.06) and average MS duration was 9.08 (SD 6.97) years. The study used a proprietary survey on information seeking, the range of searched subjects, and internet usage frequency. Results: The majority of the patients (494/932, 53.0%) used the internet 6-7 times per week and 4.3% (40/932) declared they spent minimum 2 hours per day. The most commonly searched subjects were world news (604/932, 72.9% of patients using the internet); 60.8% (504/932) searched for information on their condition, particularly for new treatment methods (562/932, 67.8%) and the course of illness (520/932, 62.7%). One’s sex had no impact on internet usage (female vs male, odds ratio [OR] 1.13, 95% CI 0.72-1.77), although a patient’s age might, at varying degrees. We found several significant associations using a .05 significance level: a patient with higher education used the internet 9 times more often than one with primary education (OR 8.64, 95% CI 3.31-22.57); lasting relationships increased chances of internet usage by 10-fold compared to widowers (OR 0.12, 95% CI 0.05-0.31); living in a city with a population over 100,000 increased chances by nearly 6 times compared with the countryside (OR 5.59, 95% CI 2.72-11.48); the relapsing-remitting MS type saw a 2-fold increase compared with the primary progressive MS type (OR 0.47, 95% CI 0.29-0.75); and those needing assistance were 2 times less likely to use the internet than patients who could move independently (OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.31-0.89). More than half of the patients (489/932, 52.5%) did not discuss the information found on the internet with their neurologists; 15.9% (148/932) believed that relationships established through the internet can be stable. Conclusions: The majority of Polish patients use the internet as a crucial information source on their condition and innovative treatment methods. The internet can be helpful in establishing new relationships, which are usually short-lived. Polish patients do not frequently discuss the information gathered on the internet with their doctors.

  • Online search for diet recommendations. Source: Flickr; Copyright:; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + ShareAlike (CC-BY-NC-SA).

    Diet and Multiple Sclerosis: Scoping Review of Web-Based Recommendations


    Background: There is currently no scientific evidence supporting the use of specific diets in the management of multiple sclerosis (MS); the strongest dietary associations are observed with vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. Despite this, there are many websites that provide advice or suggestions about using various dietary approaches to control symptoms or disease progression. Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the dietary advice for the symptomatic management of MS available on the internet. Methods: This study was a systematic review of webpages that provided dietary advice for the management of MS. Webpages were selected from an internet search conducted in November 2016 using Google, Yahoo, and Bing search engines and the search term “MS diet.” The first two pages of results from each search engine were included for the initial assessment. Duplicates were removed. Data extracted from websites included specific advice relating to diet and its rationale and the citation of supporting scientific literature. Authorship and credential information were reviewed to assess webpage quality. Results: We included 32 webpages in the final assessment. The webpages made a wide variety of specific recommendations regarding dietary patterns and individual foods to help manage MS. The most common dietary pattern advised on these webpages was the low-fat, high-fiber balanced diet, followed by the low-saturated fat diet, near-vegetarian Swank diet, and the Paleo diet. The main categories of individual foods or nutrients suggested for addition to the diet were: supplements (especially omega-3 and vitamin D), fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. In contrast, the most commonly recommended for removal were saturated fats, dairy, gluten-containing grains, and refined sugar. These recommendations were often accompanied by rationale relating to how the particular food or nutrient may affect the development, prevalence and symptoms of MS; however, very little of this information is supported by the current scientific evidence between diet and MS. Only 9 webpages provided full authorship including credential information. Conclusions: There is a wide variety of Web-based dietary advice, which in some cases is contradictory. In most cases, this advice is the result of peoples’ individual experiences and has not been scientifically tested. How people living with MS use this information is not known. These findings highlight the important role health professionals can play in assisting people living with MS in their health information-seeking behaviors.

  • Source: Adobe Stock; Copyright: gumpapa; URL:; License: Licensed by the authors.

    A Platform to Record Patient Events During Physiological Monitoring With Wearable Sensors: Proof-of-Concept Study


    Background: Patient journals have been used as valuable resources in clinical studies. However, the full potential value of such journals can be undermined by inefficiencies and ambiguities associated with handwritten patient reports. The increasing number of mobile phones and mobile-based health care approaches presents an opportunity to improve communications from patients to clinicians and clinical researchers through the use of digital patient journals. Objective: The objective of this project was to develop a smartphone-based platform that would enable patients to record events and symptoms on the same timeline as clinical data collected by wearable sensors. Methods: This platform consists of two major components: a smartphone for patients to record their journals and wireless sensors for clinical data collection. The clinical data and patient records are then exported to a clinical researcher interface, and the data and journal are processed and combined into a single time-series graph for analysis. This paper gives a block diagram of the platform’s principal components and compares its features to those of other methods but does not explicitly discuss the process of design or development of the system. Results: As a proof of concept, body temperature data were obtained in a 4-hour span from a 22-year-old male, during which the subject simultaneously recorded relevant activities and events using the iPhone platform. After export to a clinical researcher’s desktop, the digital records and temperature data were processed and fused into a single time-series graph. The events were filtered based on specific keywords to facilitate data analysis. Conclusions: We have developed a user-friendly patient journal platform, based on widely available smartphone technology, that gives clinicians and researchers a simple method to track and analyze patient activities and record the activities on a shared timeline with clinical data from wearable devices.

  • Source: Pixabay; Copyright: edar; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Views of People With Epilepsy About Web-Based Self-Presentation: A Qualitative Study


    Background: Web-based media, particularly social networking sites (SNSs), are a source of support for people with long-term conditions, like epilepsy. Living with epilepsy can reduce opportunities for accessing information and social support owing to transportation difficulties and stigma leading to self-isolation. However, some people with epilepsy (PWE) overcome these barriers using SNSs and other Web-based media. At present, little is known about Web-based identity and self-presentation of PWE; this study aims to address this gap. Objective: This study aims to describe how the use of digital technologies, such as SNSs, impacts sense of identity in PWE. Methods: We used qualitative research methods to examine Web-based media use and self-presentation in a group of 14 PWE (age range: 33-73 years; 7 men and 7 women). The median diagnosis duration was 25 years. Semistructured interviews ranged from 40 to 120 minutes, held at participants’ homes or in a public place of their choice, in the United Kingdom. QSR Nvivo 11 software was used to perform an inductive thematic analysis. Results: In this study, 9 participants used Web-based media to “silently” learn from other PWE by reading user posts on SNSs and epilepsy-related forums. When asked about self-presentation, 7 participants described feeling cautious about disclosing their epilepsy to others online. Six participants presented themselves in the same manner irrespective of the situation and described their identity as being presented in the same way both online and offline. Conclusions: PWE can deploy SNSs and Web-based media to manage aspects of their condition by learning from others and obtaining social support that may otherwise be difficult to access. Some PWE share openly, whereas others silently observe, without posting. Both benefit from the shared experiences of others. Privacy concerns and stigma can act as a barrier to sharing using Web-based media and SNSs. For some, Web-based media offers a chance to experiment with identity and change self-presentation, leading to gradually “coming out” and feeling more comfortable discussing epilepsy with others.

  • Health-related video on YouTube (montage). Source: YouTube / Placeit; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Investigating the Role of Communication for Information Seekers’ Trust-Related Evaluations of Health Videos on the Web: Content Analysis, Survey Data, and...


    Background: According to the language expectancy theory and the communication accommodation theory, health information seekers’ trust evaluations of Web-based videos are determined by interplays between content and seekers’ expectations on vloggers’ appropriate language use in specific contexts of Web-based communication. Objectives: Two investigations focused on differences both between vloggers’ language styles and between users’ general trust in specific Web-based platforms to investigate how the context of Web-based communication can be characterized (research question, RQ1). Thereafter, we investigated whether information uncertainty, vloggers’ language style, and context of Web-based communication affect seekers’ trust evaluations of videos (RQ2). Methods: With a content analysis of 36 health videos from YouTube and Vimeo, we examined the extent of trust-related linguistic characteristics (ie, first-person and second-person pronouns). Additionally, we surveyed participants (n=151) on their trust in YouTube and Moodle (academic Web-based platform; RQ1). In an experiment, further participants (n=124) watched a video about nutrition myths and were asked to evaluate the information credibility, vloggers’ trustworthiness, and accommodation of language by vloggers (RQ2). Following a 3 × 2 × 2 mixed design, vloggers’ explanations contained unambiguous (confirming or disconfirming) or ambiguous (neither confirming nor disconfirming) evidence on the myths (within factor). Furthermore, vloggers used YouTube-typical language (many first-person pronouns) or formal language (no first-person pronouns), and videos were presented on YouTube or Moodle (between factors). Results: The content analysis revealed that videos on YouTube contained more first-person pronouns than on Vimeo (F1,35=4.64; P=.04; ηp 2=0.12), but no more second-person pronouns (F1,35=1.23; P=.23). Furthermore, when asked about their trust in YouTube or Moodle, participants trusted YouTube more than Moodle (t150≤−9.63; all P≤.001). In the experiment, participants evaluated information to be more credible when information contained unambiguous rather than ambiguous evidence (F2,116=9.109; P<.001; ηp 2=0.14). Unexpectedly, information credibility did not depend on vloggers’ language style or the video platform (F1,117≤2.40; P≥.06). Likewise, video’s platform did not affect participants’ evaluations of vloggers’trustworthiness (F1,117<0.18; P>.34). However, participants judged vloggers who used a YouTube-typical language as being more benevolent, and their language use as being more appropriate in both video platforms (F1,117≥3.41; P≤.03; ηp 2≥0.028). Moreover, participants rated the YouTube-typical (vs formal) language as more appropriate for Moodle, but they did not rate one or the other language style as more appropriate for YouTube (F1,117=5.40; P=.01; ηp 2=0.04). Conclusions: This study shows that among specific Web-based contexts, users’ typical language use can differ, as can their trust-related evaluations. In addition, health information seekers seem to be affected by providers’ language styles in ways that depend on the Web-based communication context. Accordingly, further investigations that would identify concrete interplays between language style and communication context might help providers to understand whether additional information would help or hurt seekers’ ability to accurately evaluate information.

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: Bearfotos; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Body Mass Index Screening and Follow-Up: A Cross-Sectional Questionnaire Study of Pennsylvania School Nurses


    Background: Childhood overweight and obesity health concerns can affect a student’s academic performance, so it is important to identify resources for school nurses that would help to improve self-efficacy, knowledge, and confidence when approaching parents with sensitive weight-related information and influence overall obesity prevention efforts in the school setting. Objective: The purpose of this study was to conduct a Pennsylvania (PA) state-wide 29-item survey addressing school nursing barriers and practices, supplementing information already known in this area. Although the survey covered a range of topics, the focus was body mass index (BMI) screening and its related practice within the schools. Methods: We conducted a state-wide Web-based survey of school nurses in PA to understand current areas of care, find ways to address child health through school BMI screenings and follow up, and identify current educational gaps to assist school nurses with providing whole child care within the realm of weight management. Chi-square test of independence was conducted to determine the relationship between BMI screening follow up and interest in a BMI toolkit. Results: Nurse participants (N=210), with a 42% (210/500) response rate, represented 208 school districts across PA. Participants were asked about their current process for notifying parents of BMI screening results. The majority (116/210, 55.2%) send a letter home in the mail, while others (62/210, 29.5%) send a letter home with students. A small number (8/210, 3.8%) said they did not notify parents altogether, and some (39/210, 18.6%) notify parents electronically. More than one-third (75/210, 35.7%) of nurses reported receiving BMI screening inquiries from parents; however, under half (35/75, 46.7%) of those respondents indicated they follow up with parents whose child screens overweight or obese. Overall, the vast majority (182/210, 86.7%) do not follow up with parents whose child screens overweight or obese. The majority (150/210, 71.4%) of the nurses responded they would benefit from a toolkit with resources to assist with communication with parents and children about BMI screenings. A significant association between respondent follow up and interest in a BMI toolkit was observed (P=.01). Conclusions: Schools must start recognizing the role school nurses play to monitor and promote children’s health. This goal might include involving them in school-based preventive programs, empowering them to lead initiatives that support whole child health and ensuring opportunities for professional development of interest to them. Nonetheless, the first step in facilitating obesity prevention methods within schools is to provide school nurses with meaningful tools that help facilitate conversations with parents, guardians, and caregivers regarding their child’s weight status and health through a BMI screening toolkit.

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: Dr Partha Sarathi Sahana; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Hepatitis C Prevalence and Management Among Patients Receiving Opioid Substitution Treatment in General Practice in Ireland: Baseline Data from a Feasibility...


    Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major cause of chronic liver disease and death. Injection drug use is now one of the main routes of transmission of HCV in Ireland and globally with an estimated 80% new infections occurring among people who inject drugs (PWID). Objective: We aimed to examine whether patients receiving opioid substitution therapy in primary care practices in Ireland were receiving guideline-adherent care regarding HCV screening. Ireland has developed a model of care for delivering opioid substitution treatment in the primary care setting. We conducted this study given the shift of providing care for PWID from secondary to primary care settings, in light of current guidelines aimed at scaling up interventions to reduce chronic HCV infection and associated mortality. Methods: We included baseline data from the Dublin site of the Heplink study, a feasibility study focusing on developing complex interventions to enhance community-based HCV treatment and improve the HCV care pathway between primary and secondary care. We recruited 14 opioid substitution treatment-prescribing general practices that employed the administration of opioid substitution therapy from the professional networks and databases of members of the research consortium. A standardized nonprobability sampling framework was used to identify 10 patients from each practice to participate in the study. Patients were eligible if aged ≥18 years, on opioid substitution treatment, and attending the practice for any reason during the recruitment period. The baseline data were collected from the clinical records of participating patients. We collected and analyzed data on demographic characteristics, care processes and outcomes regarding HCV and other blood-borne viruses, urinalysis test results, alcohol use disorders, chronic illness, and health service utilization. We examined whether patients received care concordant with guidelines related to HCV screening and care. Results: The baseline data were collected from clinical records of 134 patients; 72.2% (96/134) were males; (mean age 43, SD 7.6; range 27-71 years); 94.8% (127/134) of patients had been tested for anti-HCV antibody in their lifetime; of those, 77.9% (99/127) tested positive. Then, 83.6% (112/134) of patients had received an HIV antibody test in their lifetime; of those, 6.3% (7/112) tested HIV positive. Moreover, 66.4% (89/134) of patients had been tested for hepatitis B virus in their lifetime and 8% (7/89) of those were positive. In the 12 months before the study, 30.6% (41/134) of patients were asked about their alcohol use by their general practitioner, 6.0% (8/134) received a brief intervention, and 2.2% (3/134) were referred to a specialist addiction or alcohol treatment service. Conclusions: With general practice and primary care playing an increased role in HCV care, this study highlights the importance of prioritizing the development and evaluation of real-world clinical solutions that support patients from diagnosis to treatment completion.

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: Obra Shalom Campo Grande; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution + NoDerivatives (CC-BY-ND).

    Extrahepatic Autoimmune Diseases are Prevalent in Autoimmune Hepatitis Patients and Their First-Degree Relatives: Survey Study


    Background: Concurrent autoimmune illnesses contribute to increased medical burden and reduced quality of life in patients with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH). The frequency of coexisting autoimmune conditions among North American patients with AIH and their families remains incomplete. Challenges associated with disease capture in the electronic medical record, high study costs, and geographic spread of patients are formidable barriers to understanding the extent of concurrent autoimmune conditions in these groups. Objective: This objective of this study was to examine the frequency of extrahepatic autoimmune diseases (EHAD) among AIH cases and healthy controls as well as their first-degree relatives using social networking sites (SNS). Methods: We developed a 53-question survey detailing the history of autoimmune diseases. A survey link was posted at routine intervals within specific Web-based cohorts on SNS. Healthy controls, without self-reported autoimmune liver disease, were recruited from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Continuous variables were summarized using medians and P values obtained with the Wilcoxon rank-sum test. Categorical variables were compared using the chi-square test. Results: Compared with controls (n=1162), cases (n=306) were more likely to be older (median age: 49 vs 33 years), female (284/306, 92.81% vs 955/1162, 82.18%), and have an EHAD (128/306, 41.83% vs 218/1162, 18.76%; P=.001). The most frequent EHADs among cases were thyroid disease (49/306, 16.01% ), Sjögren syndrome (27/306, 8.82%), Raynaud phenomenon (23/306, 7.52%), and psoriasis (22/306, 7.19%). Overall, 55.88% (171/306) of cases and 35.71% (1601/4484) of controls reported at least 1 first-degree relative (FDR) with a history of EHAD (P=.001). Cases had a significantly higher risk of EHAD than controls after the adjustment for age, sex, race, and body mass index: odds ratio 2.46 (95% CI 1.8-3.3); P=.001. Conclusions: Patients with AIH report higher prevalence of coexistent EHAD than healthy controls, and their FDRs are also more likely to have autoimmune disorders.

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  • Mothers’ Willingness to Share Personal Health Data with Researchers: Survey Results from an Opt-in Panel

    Date Submitted: Mar 19, 2019

    Open Peer Review Period: Mar 22, 2019 - May 17, 2019

    Background: The advances in information communication technology have allowed researchers to collect data continuously through mobile sources on the targeted populations. However, research has shown t...

    Background: The advances in information communication technology have allowed researchers to collect data continuously through mobile sources on the targeted populations. However, research has shown that different population exhibit different data sharing preferences. Socioeconomic status, type, and source of devices used to collect these data are all factors that shape these preferences. Objective: In this study, we aim to assess women, in particular, white mothers’, data sharing preferences. Methods: We used a cross-sectional sample of white mothers (N=622) of healthy children. We administered an online survey questionnaire consisting of 51 questions, of which we selected 15 questions for further analysis. These questions pertain to the attitudes and belief in data sharing, internet use and interest in future research, and sociodemographic and health questions on caregivers and their children. Results: The results showed that mothers preferred to keep their data anonymous (70%) and use patient portals (63%). However, mothers were less willing to share their medical record data (36%) and their GPS location with researchers (40%), whereas, the majority of these mothers were more willing to share their data provided through online surveys (81%) or collected through their mobile phone (68%). Mothers’ motivations and concerns regarding sharing their data were statistically associated with their preferences to keep their data anonymous, use of patient portals, and their willingness-to-share their data with researchers. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that mothers’ concerns outweighed more on their decision to share their patient health data. We also found that mothers’ access and use of a patient portal did not necessarily translate into their willingness to disclose their medical record data. In fact, the majority of these mothers were concerned about sharing their medical record and GPS location data.

  • Using Virtual Reality to Improve Antiretroviral Therapy Adherence in the Treatment of HIV

    Date Submitted: Feb 14, 2019

    Open Peer Review Period: Feb 19, 2019 - Apr 16, 2019

    Background: Nonadherence to HIV medications is a serious unsolved problem and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the HIV-positive population. Although treatment efficacy is high if complia...

    Background: Nonadherence to HIV medications is a serious unsolved problem and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the HIV-positive population. Although treatment efficacy is high if compliance is greater than 90%, about 40% of people with HIV do not meet this threshold. Objective: We tested a novel approach to improve medication adherence by using a low-cost virtual reality (VR) experience to educate people with HIV about their illness. We hypothesized that people with HIV would be more likely to be compliant with the treatment following the 7-minute presentation, and therefore should have decreasing viral loads and improved adherence questionnaire scores. Methods: We showed the VR experience to 107 participants with HIV at a county hospital in Los Angeles, California. Participants completed a validated medication adherence questionnaire (MAQ) before and at least two weeks after the VR experience. We also compared viral loads (VL) and cluster of differentiation 4 (CD4) counts before and on average 101 days after the experience. VL were obtained per the clinic’s standard care protocol. Paired t-tests were performed on the initial and follow-up MAQs, VL, and CD4 counts. To reduce the possibility that VL were trending down regardless of the VR experience, two serial VL obtained prior to the experience were also compared and analyzed. Immediately following the VR experience, participants were given a four-question Likert scale questionnaire that assessed their opinions about the experience. Results: MAQ scores improved from pre- to post- experience with high significance (P = .0001). VL decreased from pre- to post- experience by 0.38 log10 copies/mL (95% CI 0.06 to 0.70; P = .01). In contrast, the two serial VL obtained prior to the experience showed no statistically significant changes. There were no statistically significant changes to CD4 counts. Analysis of the postexperience questionnaire revealed that VR was comfortable for most participants, and that most participants believed the experience to be educational and that it would improve their medication adherence. Conclusions: The findings suggest that the low-cost VR experience caused an increased rate of antiretroviral therapy adherence that resulted in a decrease of VL. Further studies are required to test whether these results are generalizable to other treatment settings and populations.