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Use of Social Media in Health Promotion: Advantages and Challenges

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Final Assignment: Develop an Essay

Use of Social media in Health Promotion: Advantages and Challenges

Mahamoudou Touré


Induction Module UU-M-IND100

Rina Charalambous


Boyd and Ellison (2007) in their book Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarshipexamine the dimensions of Social media in our day to day life. As he writes,

“Social network sites as webbased services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semipublic profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site. The aim of this writing is to highlight the important use of social media in our life and their impact in healthcare delivering services. Social media are playing an important role in the health promotion within communities but there are still challenges to better delivery services in our healthcare systems.

The use of social media are very important, nowadays, in all the different aspects of our life. Almost everyone has access to internet and social media today. In the United States, approximatively 69% of US adults have access to internet in 2007 (Chou and al. 2009).

And their use are enabling people and health professionals interacting easily and faster while delivering and receiving health services. Customers can stay in their home and see a doctor about a health problem and get the necessary assistance needed to treat the problem without any physical contact. Patients use different media platforms to have access to these health services. For example, a survey among patients and health professionals in obstetrics and gynecology shows that most of them use tweeter to share information and idea and Facebook to maintain relationship and give support (Antheunis and al. 2013). As a result, there are increased interactions between healthcare professionals and patients, so the services are more available and there is increased accessibility and widening access to health information. Moorhead and al. (2013) indicate that Social media presents a newinput to health care because it gives a way to be used by the people, sick persons, and physicians to discuss about health problems with the opportunity to improve the health systems results. These underline the importance of the use of these new means of communication in the way services are delivered and interactions happens among patients’ life and health professionals in all around the world.

Although the use of social media in our health systems is very useful nowadays, Moorhead and al. (2013) indicates that there are still many limitations and challenges in their use. Many users find that the use of social media lack confidentiality as internet related threats or hacks grow progressively and can affect any systems. Housey (2014) argues that users fear that the health care system could not ensure the security of their information gathered while they are consulting through social media.In the same way, consumers’ satisfaction while using social media can influence either positively or negatively their use of social media and the interactions with health care professionals. In their study, Panahi and al. (2016) develops the fact that the lack of trust in the use of social media affects not only the participation of patients who need medical support but also the health professionals who find the use of social media unreliable and time consuming as they lack good organization. Thus, customers and healthcare professionals have little confidence in the use of these social media and their contribution to the delivering of healthcare services and the social interactions they cause among customers and healthcare professionals and between healthcare professionals themselves.

Some healthcare centers lack effective network systems to help deploy reliable mechanisms with social media and do not encourage their by the health professionals so as to improve their efficiency and the number of customers or health professionals who use them in order to deliver services efficiently and lower health consultations related costs. Thus, the use of social media are found not reliable, lack active participation and lack of confidentiality which prevents their mass usage.  

It obvious that the use of social media by healthcare professionals has reached a high level in recent years (Panahi and al., 2014). They allows healthcare professionals to interact between themselves and with patients quickly and at any time. This enables Healthcare professionals to not only share knowledge and experiences but also access to the populations and provide them useful and lifesaving information. So, healthcare professional are equipped with tools to have a better knowledge of the importance of the social media and surrender their impact in healthcare, and use them efficiently and improve their benefits to the real needs of customers.

The use of social media are very useful in our life in general and more specifically to the healthcare systems. People and healthcare professionals from all around the world can use them to get access to various useful services among which health assistance, knowledge sharing and improvement and engaging in continued health education. Most customers use Twitter and Facebook to ask for support from professionals from anywhere and get access to services while saving money and time. Though, the use of these social media must be regulated by policies. Healthcare professionals and customers must use them carefully and professionally to help improve their effectivity and ensure the confidentiality of the users whoever and wherever they are.So, they can largely contribute to improve the healthcare coverage within communities and maximize their benefits.



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