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1.1  Background of the study

People are increasingly collaborating with other users of these websites to seek and offer social support and health information via health-related online social networks (OSNs) and virtual communities (Lau and Kwok 2009; Newman et al. 2011). According to a nationwide poll done by the Pew Research Center, one out of every four respondents had looked at someone else's  personal health experience and medical difficulties posted online in the previous 12 months, and 16% had sought for other Internet users with comparable health problems (Fox and Duggan 2013). In addition, 40% of respondents said they shared their health-related experiences on social media. Healthcare institutions, such as hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies, have begun to use social media strategies to directly engage with health consumers (e.g., patients and carers), market medical services and goods, and allow people to engage with one another and share social support on social media websites, in line with this trend. Mayo Clinic, for example, was a forerunner in the use of social media in the United States, establishing the "Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media"2 and launching an OSN3 to allow their patients to communicate with one another. "We think people have the right and obligation to advocate for their own health, and that it is our job to assist them in using social media technologies to get the best information and connect with clinicians as well as one another," they say. (The Mayo Clinic Social Media Center, n.d.)  Healthcare practitioners generally rely on general-purpose OSNs, such as the hundreds of socially-integrated health-specific websites that provide collaborative platforms for patients (e.g., patients and caregivers). People resort to these websites to trade social support with other people and form one-on-one social bonds with them (Lasker, Sogolow, and Sharim 2005). In this chapter, these social media-enabled healthcare websites are referred to as virtual health communities (VHCs), which are defined as "online environments in which users interact with one another around a set of common interests or shared purpose related to health using a variety of tools including discussion boards, chat, virtual environments in accordance with the existing literature (e.g., Demiris 2006). (Newman and colleagues, 2011, p. 342) Health consumers who use social media technologies will be able to become active participants in social support and health-related information exchange activities, which is in line with the concept of consumer health informatics (Wickramasinghe, Teoh, Durst, and Viol 2013). Understanding the many characteristics of health social media would therefore assist healthcare organizations, clinicians, and experts in more efficiently using these networks and incorporating them into consumer health informatics processes and applications. Furthermore, this knowledge will enable academics in a variety of consumer health informatics fields to focus their research efforts on health social media ideas, technology, and applications. As a consequence, this chapter's goal is to illuminate many facets of health social media technology. The following is how the rest of the chapter is organized. First, the idea of patient-centered e-health applications is examined, as well as the relationship between this idea and social media in health care. Second, the two primary social media contexts utilized for health-related messaging are distinguished. General-purpose OSNs and VHCs are examples of these two settings. Third, VHCs give a typology of social media platforms, as well as the ramifications of this typology. Fourth, the typology is used to investigate the various sorts of collaboration platforms offered by a number of well-known VHCs in the United States. The benefits and future advances, as well as the health issues and obstacles related with the usage of health social media, are examined. A quick summary of the chapter's contents concludes the chapter.

1.2 Statement of research problem

Consumers of health care, particularly individuals with specific medical illnesses and those with health-related inquiries or concerns, may join OSN sites run by healthcare institutions. Health care customers may contact directly with the organization's representatives on such websites, express their questions or concerns about their medical issues, treatments, or procedures, and give feedback on the services provided to them. Despite the advantages of health-related social media, these virtual worlds pose risks and concerns. Users of these websites, for example, may be worried about the security, privacy, and confidentiality of personal health data exchanged on these platforms. These, as well as a slew of other issues, will be explored in further depth in the research.

1.2  Objectives of the study

the primary objective of this study is as follow:

l  To find out the role of social media websites  in health care system.

l  To find out if the personal information a patient put on social media are safe and will not be used against them in future

l  To find out how to improve the safety measures put in place by social media websites  in other to secure patients personal information.

1.3  Research questions

the following research questions have been formulated for this study

1.        has social media contribute to medical care system?

2.        Do you think the personal information of a patient put in websites application is safe?

3.        Do you think safety measures put in place by websites can be improved upon?

1.4  Significance of the study

l  This study will examine the role of social media in medical care system

l  The findings of this research work will undoubtedly provide the much needed information to government organizations, ministry of health, social media platforms and users and academia.

1.5  Scope of the study

This study intends to examine the  role of social media in medical care system. Hence, this study will be delimited to private hospital in ikeja Lagos state

1.6  Limitations of the study

This study was constrained by a number of factors which are as follows:

 just like any other research, ranging from unavailability of needed accurate materials on the topic under study, inability to get data

Financial constraint , was faced by  the researcher ,in getting relevant materials  and  in printing and collation of questionnaires

Time factor: time factor pose another constraint since having to shuttle between writing of the research and also engaging in other academic work making it uneasy for the researcher

1.7  Operational definition of terms

Role: an actor's part in a play, film, etc

Social media:

websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.

health care:the organized provision of medical care to individuals or a community.

System:a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network; a complex whole.

This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research


  • Reference(s):

    yes available

  • Methodology: yes available

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