Social Media Tools in the Healthcare Industry

How do you envision Social Media be integrated at the Point of Care? Are there any examples and/or models that already exist?

Social media tools that can be implemented in healthcare include various networking and media-sharing platforms, blogs, article databases, and so on. A great variety of media may be used to enhance the quality of care. The integration of the sources that fulfill the educational function can be of tremendous use at the point of care because it may stimulate the professional development of care providers. Nowadays, there are some Web 2.0 tools that include virtual reality and gaming features aimed to support health practitioners’ training, e.g., Second Life (Ventola, 2014). Additionally, media sharing and content production sources can be integrated to support decision-making regarding clinical and organizational interventions.

Should we be leveraging Social Media data as a means of clinical decision support?

A growing number of physicians use social media professionally to find and share evidence about health. The use of social media significantly increases the accessibility to highly credible and recent information about practices ad diseases. Therefore, the data derived from such sources should be used as a means of clinical support. It can be especially useful when other sources of information are exhausted (Cretien & Kind, 2013). However, when searching for information through social media, one needs to make sure that the source is credible and conduct the additional validity check if needed.

You made mention in your presentation that social media data can be misused. What are some specific examples of this misuse?

The major concern associated with the application of social media in healthcare is the misuse of patients’ information, i.e., intentional or unintentional disclosure of information that may harm a person in some way. Every care provider should be aware of the ethical implications of sharing professional information through social media. A nurse should respect the dignity of every patient and avoid harming his or her identity. Care providers should always obtain patients’ informed consent prior to the disclosure of confidential data (Spector & Kappel, 2012). Other examples of social media misuse include lateral violence and communication against colleagues (Spector & Kappel, 2012). Such forms of unethical behavior are detrimental to organizational climate and quality of work as a whole.

What are some specific use cases of how social media has been leveraged for surveillance and outbreaks? What were the outcomes?

Despite the mentioned risks, social media are associated with some benefits as well. One of the newest is the surveillance of infection outbreaks through networking and micro-blog platforms. The findings of the recent study conducted in China reveal that surveillance through online social platforms is much faster than through traditional sources of reporting (Zhang et al., 2015). The given method proved to be efficient in collecting the crowd-sourced epidemiological information. Additionally, the online platforms can be used by the agencies and authorities to communicate risk information to the general audience and monitor their sentiments.

How do mobile devices play into access to social media?

Nowadays, more and more people use smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices to access the Internet. Moreover, organizations in various fields, including healthcare, design and launch mobile apps and instruments that help them to inform and communicate with users of mobile devices exclusively. However, the differences between lower and higher-income social members, as well as the low frequency of smartphone use among the elderly population, make the access to app-related data sets from distinct demographic groups unequal (Muralidharan, 2014).

Does access to a PC and/or internet equate to access to mobile devices?

On the one hand, the growing number of mobile devices’ use is associated with the increased access to data because users are not linked to a single point of the Internet access and can retrieve the necessary information from any location. At the same time, the abilities to share and search information of those people who do not use smartphones are significantly limited ( primarily in terms of space) comparing to mobile device users. Therefore, in some sense, access to a PC does not equate the access to mobile devices.


Chretien, K. C., & Kind, T. (2013). Social media and clinical care: Ethical, professional, and social implications. Circulation, 127(13), 1413-1421. Web.

Ventola, C. L. (2014). Social media and health care professionals: Benefits, risks, and best practices. Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 39(7), 491–520.

Spector, N., & Kappel, D. (2012). Guidelines for using electronic and social media. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 17(3).

Zhang, E. X., Yang, Y., Di Shang, R., Simons, J. J. P., Quek, B. K., Yin, X. F., … Tey, J. S. H. (2015). Western Pacific Surveillance and Response Journal : WPSAR, 6(2), 66–72. Web.

Muralidharan, S. (2014). Web.

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