Marcus Maurera, et al.

World Allergy Organ J . 2020 Oct 30;13(11):100475. doi:10.1016/j.waojou.2020.100475. eCollection 2020 Nov.

Chronic urticaria is characterized by itchy wheals, angioedema, or both for six weeks or more. It impacts patients’ physical and emotional quality of life. People with chronic urticaria and other chronic conditions are information seekers from information and communications technologies (ICTs). This study aimed to evaluate the frequency of use and preference of ICTs from chronic urticaria patients.

This was a cross-sectional study that included 1800 patients with chronic spontaneous urticaria or chronic inducible urticaria, over 12 years old, recruited from primary healthcare centers, university hospitals, or specialized clinics UCARE (Urticaria Centers of Reference and Excellence) in 16 countries. Patients were requested to complete a 23-item questionnaire with questions about the use of ICT, including the type, frequency, preference, and quality. Answers were registered in a database. ICTs were then categorized into three groups: one-to-one: SMS, WhatsApp, Skype, and email; one-to-many: YouTube, web browsers, blogs or forums; and many-to-many: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Globally, most chronic urticaria had access to ICT platforms (99.6%) and internet access (96.7%). One-to-one ICT platforms were used most often (85.4%), followed by one-to-many ICTs (75.5%) and many-to-many ICTs (59.2%). The use of ICT platforms increased with patient education. One-to-many was preferred for general health information and chronic urticaria information. For chronic urticaria specific information, 3 in every 4 patients used a web browser, 20.9% used YouTube, and 13.6% used Facebook. One in five patients didn’t use any form of ICT. The quality of information was rated as very interesting and of good quality for general health information (53.5%) and CU-related information (51.5%) compared to other categories.

In conclusion, the use of information and communications technologies for health and urticaria specific information is very high in all countries, with web browsers being the preferred platform.

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