My patients are on social media? What are they looking for?

A recent systematic review of over 1700 articles sheds light to what our patients are doing in social media. And the results identify unmet needs that we, as physicians, have to address.

This analysis, unique in it’s context, identifies the types of social media use by patients for health related reasons as well as the effects of such use, which may differ between patients and doctors.

The findings show that patients use social media mainly for

  1. social support, which is represented through information support,

  2. emotional support,

  3. esteem support and

  4. network support.

Other identified types of social media use by patients have found to be emotional expression and social comparison.

Smailhodzic, Edin; Hooijsma, Wyanda; Boonstra, Albert; Langley, David J. Social media use in healthcare: A systematic review of effects on patients and on their relationship with healthcare professionals BMC Health Services Research DOI:10.1186/s12913-016-1691-0

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