Social media for patients: benefits and drawbacks
- 737 Downloads
Purpose of review
Social media is increasingly utilized by patients to educate themselves on a disease process and to find hospital, physicians, and physician networks most capable of treating their condition. However, little is known about quality of the content of the multiple online platforms patients have to communicate with other potential patients and their potential benefits and drawbacks.
Patients are not passive consumers of health information anymore but are playing an active role in the delivery of health services through an online environment. The control and the regulation of the sources of information are very difficult. The overall quality of the information was poor. Bad or misleading information can be detrimental for patients as well as influence their confidence on physicians and their mutual relationship.
Orthopedic surgeons and hospital networks must be aware of these online patient portals as they provide important feedback on the patient opinion and experience that can have a major impact on future patient volume, patient opinion, and perceived quality of care.
KeywordsSocial media Social networking Web 2.0 Internet Patient-patient relations
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and animal rights and informed consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance
- 2.Thompson JB. Merchants of culture. The publishing business in the twenty-first century. Business. 2011:209–20. doi: 10.1108/17506200710779521.
- 8.Duggan M. The demographics of social media users n.d. http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/08/19/the-demographics-of-social-media-users/.
- 9.Health Fact Sheet n.d. http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/health-fact-sheet/.
- 11.Lenhart A, Purcell K, Smith A, Zickuhr K. Social media & mobile Internet use among teens and young adults. n.d. http://www.pewinternet.org/2010/02/03/social-media-and-young-adults/.
- 12.Korda H, Itani Z. Harnessing social media for health promotion and behavior change. Health Promot Pract. 2011:15–23. doi: 10.1177/1524839911405850.
- 13.Perrin A. Social media usage: 2005–2015 n.d. http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/08/social-networking-usage-2005-2015/.
- 15.• Krempec J, Hall J, Biermann JS. Internet use by patients in orthopaedic surgery. Iowa Orthop J. 2003;23:80–2. The authors evaluated Internet use among orthopedic patients in a private practice general orthopedic setting. Forty-five percent of patients had used the Internet either personally or thru a surrogate to search for information about their orthopedic condition. The majority of users found medical information on Internet sites to be useful and accurate. The number one choice for reconciling conflicting information was to ask a physician or a nurse PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- 16.• Curry E, Li X, Nguyen J, Matzkin E. Prevalence of internet and social media usage in orthopedic surgery. Orthop Rev (Pavia). 2014;6:5483. doi: 10.4081/or.2014.5483. The authors evaluated the prevalence of Internet or social media usage in new patients referred to a major academic orthopedics center. Seven hundred fifty-two first-time adult patients were surveyed. Fifty percent of patients used social networking sites, and in their multivariable regression analysis, they found that younger patient age and patients having performed prior research on their condition were more likely to use social networking sites. Sports medicine patients tended to be higher social networking users (35.9%) relative to other services (9.8–17.9%). Younger age was the biggest indicator predicting the use of social media CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 19.Wilson EV. Patient-centered e-health. United States: Medical Information Science Reference; September 15, 2008Google Scholar
- 26.Agarwal N, Yiliyasi Y. Information quality challenges in social media. Proc 15th Int Conf Inf Qual 2010:234–48Google Scholar
- 30.• Cassidy JT, Baker JF. Orthopaedic patient information on the World Wide Web: an essential review. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2016;98:325–38. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.N.01189. The authors performed a systematic review of peer-reviewed literature pertaining online orthopedic information. Thirty-eight peer-reviewed articles published since were reviewed. They found that the quality and readability of online orthopedic information were generally poor. Studies examining readability have focused on pages produced by professional orthopedic societies CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 31.• Brooks FM, Lawrence H, Jones A, McCarthy MJH. Youtube as a source of patient information for lumbar discectomy. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2014;96:144–6. doi: 10.1308/003588414X13814021676396. The authors performed a systematic search of YouTube videos on lumbar discectomy to assess their quality. Eighty-one videos were identified, with a total number of viewings of 2,722,964 (range 139–111,891) and an average number of 34,037 viewings per video. They found that the quality of YouTube videos was variable. There were 16 with a rating of “good”, 25 with a rating of “average,” and 40 with a rating of “poor” or “inadequate.” The most common missing information was related to anesthesia or complications. Most videos (69/81) were broadcast by surgeons or surgical institutes CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- 32.• Elhassan Y, Sheridan G, Nassiri M, Osman M, Kiely P, Noel J. Discectomy-related information on the internet: does the quality follow the surge? Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2015;40:121–5. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000000689. The authors evaluated the quality of discectomy-related information available on the Internet. Fifty-three web sites were identified and analyzed. Commercial web sites were predominant. The overall quality of information regarding discectomy was poor and variable despite an exponential increase in the number of users and web sites, with a slight trend toward improvement; only 20 to 30% are of good quality, compared with that 10 years ago (<10%) CrossRefGoogle Scholar