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Social media in healthcare : what are the effects of the use of social media on patients’ health and care: an explorative study

Tage, Bert (2011) Social media in healthcare : what are the effects of the use of social media on patients’ health and care: an explorative study.

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Abstract:This report describes the approach to and results of an exploratory research into the effects of the use of social media by chronic patients on the quality of their health and care. To answer the main question of this study (What are the effects of the use of social media on patients' health and care?) the meaning to patients of the term ‘social media’ had to be determined. What part do the terms social computing, Web 2.0, Health 2.0 and Medicine 2.0 play in relation to social media? What are the possible effects of the use of social media and how can it play a role in improving the quality of health and care of patients? Because a direct relationship between social media and the quality of patients' health and care has never been established, the concept of patient empowerment was included in this study as an intermediate variable. The conceptual framework in this study defines patient empowerment as: “The extent to which patients are equipped to help themselves with respect to their own health management”. Five aspects were taken into account: (1) Health knowledge, (2) Self-confidence and acceptance, (3) Self-care and Self-management skills, (4) Self-efficacy and (5) Motivation. The most important result of this study was the establishment of a linear relationship between the use of social media by chronic patients and satisfaction with their current care. A significant linear relationship was also discovered between the use of social media and the level of health-related knowledge, self-confidence and acceptance level and the motivational level of chronic patients. This study concludes that for social media to affect the quality of healthcare it should be understood primarily as ‘visiting and consuming social health content’, where the information is made available mainly by other users. In this way social media contributes to the improvement of a patient as a conversation partner. This can lead to a better relationship between a chronic patient and his or her health care provider / professional, and to more loyalty towards his or her therapy. Finally, the use of social media will enhance confidence, acceptance and motivational levels of chronic patients, making them less likely to become socially isolated. Their social network will remain intact or might even expand. Furthermore, the use of social media by patients may increase efficiency and may have a cost reducing effect through a reduction of absenteeism and lost working days, less rapid calls on a professional or healthcare provider and increased awareness which can result in earlier detection of problems which decreases the number of hospitalizations.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/61140
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