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Using a Twitter Chat to Rapidly Identify Barriers and Policy Solutions for Metastatic Breast Cancer Care

UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professors Ninez Ponce and Beth Glenn are among the co-authors of a research article in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, Public Health and Surveillance that found online community insights drawn from social media platforms may be a timely source of data for policymakers to generate changes to improve health care and outcomes for metastatic breast cancer patients

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Date: 
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
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UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professors Ninez Ponce and Beth Glenn are among the co-authors of a research article in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, Public Health and Surveillance that found online community insights drawn from social media platforms such as Twitter may be a timely source of data for policymakers to generate changes to improve health care and outcomes for metastatic breast cancer patients.

Ninez Ponce, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management and director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and Beth Glenn, also a professor of health policy and management, are among six co-uathors of the article published in the January edition of the journal.

Summary: Metastatic breast cancer survival rates are low and are in part impacted by time-sensitive access to care factors that may be improved through policy changes. Online communities have formed to provide support for patients and foster collaboration among patients, clinicians, advocates, and researchers.

Findings: For patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), online community insights drawn from social media platforms such as Twitter may be a timely source of data for policymakers to generate changes to improve health care and outcomes for MBC patients.

Twitter chat participants identified barriers to MBC care including communication gaps between health care providers and patients, delays in insurance authorizations of treatments and other procedures, insurance denials of palliative care or specialized care, and financial challenges including barriers to obtaining disability benefits.

Policy recommendations such as expanding the availability of nurse navigation for MBC and improving access to clinical trials may improve care for MBC patients.

Co-authors: Include Dr. Deanna Attai, associate clinical professor of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; and Riti Shimkhada, AJ Scheitler, Susan H. Babey, all with the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

written by Elaiza Torralba

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