Keywords E health healthcare patient empowerment patient engagement social

Keywords e health healthcare patient empowerment

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Keywords E-health, healthcare, patient empowerment, patient engagement, social media challenges, social media ben- efits, technology Introduction The use of social media for personal and health use is on the rise. This is part of a growing realiza- tion that social media can provide a platform for patients to gather information, explore options, and Corresponding author: Mowafa Househ, College of Public Health and Health Informatics, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, National Guard Health Affairs, Riyadh, 12345, Saudi Arabia. Email: [email protected] 476969 JHI 20 1 10.1177/1460458213476969Health Informatics JournalHouseh et al. 2013 Article by guest on December 23, 2015 jhi.sagepub.com Downloaded from
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Househ et al. 51 share their experiences. 1 Social media provide online platforms for interactions to occur around various health topics relating to patient education, health promotion, public relations, and crisis communication. 2 Social media include various technological approaches such as blogs, microblog- ging (e.g. Twitter), social networking (e.g. Facebook and Patients Like Me), video- and file-sharing sites (e.g. YouTube), e-games, and wikis. The benefits of social media in improving patient care have not yet been well documented, and with over 80 percent of Americans seeking health informa- tion online, 2 the impacts of social media on health cannot be ignored. Patient groups have mostly benefited from the use of social media for health purposes. It is estimated that in the United States, 67% of all Internet users utilize social media, 3 and searching for online health information has become one of the most popular online activities. 2 Patients can use social media for a variety of reasons that include education, information, networking, research, support, goal setting, and tracking personal progress. Patients have the ability to express them- selves, share their stories, learn from others, and spread health knowledge. 4 Social media create a forum for patient participation that extends beyond the reach of the hospital or the local clinic. Such resources can help empower and uplift patients when they read the experiences of other patients. 4 Some physicians believe that social media can be beneficial for patients with chronic disease, cancer, rare diseases, maternal and infant care, depression, wellness, prevention, and weight management. 4 Studies have found that different age groups, income groups, and genders use social media in different and similar ways. For example, Korda et al. 5 note that women are more likely than men to look for information relating to symptoms, treatments, diseases and condi- tions, and medication, whereas men are more likely to search for information about vitamins and supplements, health insurance providers, and physicians. Patients benefit from using social net- working for health reasons because the applications are patient focused, allow for meaningful patient participation, and empower the patient, attributes that are central to patient-centered e-health (PCEH).
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