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Blogging in Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology: Assessment of ‘Blogosphere’ Content

  • Gabriel Birgand (a1), Rachael Troughton (a1), Luke S. P. Moore (a1), Esmita Charani (a1), Timothy M. Rawson (a1), Enrique Castro-Sánchez (a1) and Alison H. Holmes (a1)...

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To analyze influential infectious diseases, antimicrobial stewardship, infection control, or medical microbiology blogs and bloggers

SETTING

World wide web

DESIGN

We conducted a systematic search for blogs in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines in September 2015.

METHODS

A snowball sampling approach was applied to identify blogs using various search engines. Blogs were eligible if they (1) focused on infectious diseases, antimicrobial stewardship, infection control, or medical microbiology; (2) were intended for health professionals; and (3) were written in English and (4) were updated regularly. We mapped blog and blogger characteristics and used an innovative tool to assess the architecture and content of the included blogs. The motivations and perceptions of bloggers and readers were also assessed.

RESULTS

A total of 88 blogs were identified. Moreover, 28 blogs (32%) focused on infectious diseases, 46 (52%) focused on medical microbiology, and 14 (16%) focused on infection control or antimicrobial stewardship. Bloggers were mainly male with medical doctorates and/or PhDs; 32 bloggers (36%) posted at least weekly; and 51 (58%) had a research purpose. The aims were considered clear for 23 blogs (26%), and the field covered was considered broad for 25 blogs (28%). Presentation was considered good for 22 blogs (25%), 51 blogs (58%) were easy to read, and 46 blogs (52%) included expert interpretation. Among the top 10 blogs, 3 focused on infectious diseases, 6 focused on medical microbiology, and 2 focused on infection control (2 were equally ranked). The bloggers we questioned were motivated to share their independent expertise and opinions. Readers appreciated the concise messages on scientific topics and practical updates.

CONCLUSIONS

This study describes high-level blogs in the fields of infectious diseases, infection control, and medical microbiology. Our findings suggest ways in which bloggers should build/orientate blogs for readers, and we have highlighted current gaps in blog topics such as antimicrobial stewardship.

Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol 2017;38:832–839

Copyright

Corresponding author

Address correspondence to Dr Gabriel Birgand, Health Protection Research Unit in Healthcare-Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Campus, Du Cane Road, London W12 0NN (g.birgand@imperial.ac.uk).

Footnotes

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PREVIOUS PRESENTATION. A poster summarizing the results of this study was presented at the SHEA 2016 conference, May 18–21, 2016, Atlanta, Georgia, United States.

Footnotes

References

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Blogging in Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology: Assessment of ‘Blogosphere’ Content

  • Gabriel Birgand (a1), Rachael Troughton (a1), Luke S. P. Moore (a1), Esmita Charani (a1), Timothy M. Rawson (a1), Enrique Castro-Sánchez (a1) and Alison H. Holmes (a1)...

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