that it was difficult to identify the authors of postings especially when they

That it was difficult to identify the authors of

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that it was difficult to identify the authors of postings, especially when they were trying to promote non–Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medications. The authors noted that this posed a significant problem with the credibility of the information posted on Facebook. Additionally, it was difficult to evaluate the truthfulness of individuals who discussed cures and treatments that have helped improve their management of diabetes. Clerici et al., 11 Thielst, 1 Greene et al., and Omurtag et al. 21 found similar challenges with regard to misinformation in both video- and text- based health information being shared on Facebook. by guest on December 23, 2015 Downloaded from
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56 Health Informatics Journal 20(1) Discussion The current state of the literature documenting patient use of social media for health shows that there are various benefits and challenges for patients when using social media for health. Overall, this review shows that there appears to be a promising future for the use of social media in health -care because it can be used as a tool to engage and empower the patient. The review found that using video through social media can have more of an impact on patient engagement than text- based interventions. The study also found that there is a promising future for social media in com- munity engagement, information sharing, data collection functions, appointment setting, prescription notifications, providing health information, engagement of the elderly, improved par- ticipation, autonomy, motivation, trust, and perceived self-efficacy. We perceive these benefits as promising; however, more research is required to determine whether these benefits are realized in patient care. Most of the studies included in this review were noninterventional, and those that were inter- ventional did not focus on the health outcomes associated with social media use. Moving forward, future research should study the impacts of social media on health outcomes directly rather than using patient engagement, empowerment, or education as proxy measures for healthy living. We therefore advocate further research in this area to study the impacts of social media on health outcomes. Finally, the articles that were identified in this review suggest that various challenges are devel- oping at the same time that more patients are being engaged with social media. The primary chal- lenges are related to privacy, security, the usability of social media programs, the manipulation of identity, and misinformation. These factors can pose serious threats to patient safety if not addressed appropriately by those who wish to engage patients through social media. These challenges should be incorporated into the research as objectives, as more information is needed to understand the future challenges of social media use in terms of patient safety, community engagement, and patient empowerment.
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