The way patients and their caregivers share information on various online platforms about health topics and their own experiential knowledge presents new potential environments for research, particularly as concerns health products. The information provided individually and voluntarily by patients who are members of these online communities is a new resource for identifying and understanding precisely how health products are used, assessing their effectiveness, quantifying potential adverse effects in real-life situations, detecting subtle signs that are significant for experts in pharmacovigilance and addiction studies, and developing new assessment tools to help form new working hypotheses. How patients freely express their experiences and feelings and the reality of what they share also opens the way for societal research into health products, a field that is still under-explored. Well-established regulations govern research into health products, which uses resources and methodologies that have changed little over the years. However, the development of online communities of patients presents new possibilities in this field. The challenge we face today is defining their place among traditional research techniques. This place cannot be accepted by all stakeholders unless we first establish a firm understanding of the advantages, limitations, and constraints of these communities. The round table on this topic endeavoured to: explore these issues and develop a better understanding of the phenomenon and the different varieties of online communities and networks for patients; identify possible advantages, special features, and methodological, regulatory, and ethical limitations that researchers currently face; and finally, to put forward the first recommendations in this growing field of research.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : France, Research into health products, Social networks, Virtual communities, Online communities, Patients, Pharmacovigilance, Addiction vigilance, Online data, Post-inscription, Pharmacoepidemiology
|☆|| Articles, analyses and proposals from Giens workshops are those of the authors and do not prejudice the proposition of their parent organization.