The Role of Online Social Networks in Consumer Health Informatics: An Example of the Implicit Incorporation of Lean Principles

  • Carolin Durst
  • Janine Viol
  • Nilmini Wickramasinghe
Part of the Healthcare Delivery in the Information Age book series (Healthcare Delivery Inform. Age)


Consumer health informatics is a relatively new and rapidly expanding area within the field of medical informatics. Central to this discipline is the importance of providing information and support to individuals (consumers) so that they can be empowered and take a central role in their own health and well-being.

The rapidly increasing prevalence of obesity is a phenomenon often referred to as the “obesity epidemic” (Obesity: preventing and managing the global epidemic. Report of a WHO Consultation. WHO Technical Report Series 894, WHO, Geneva, 2000). Literature suggests social networks to be one of the most important dimension of people’s social environment that may enable or constrain the adoption of health-promoting behaviors (e.g., The New England Journal of Medicine, 357:370–379, 2007; Social Science & Medicine (1982), 63:1011-1022, 2006). Using data collected in qualitative interviews and via a Facebook application, this research in progress provides first insights on the relationship between online social connections, health-related behaviors, and body weight.

An outlook is given on how the use of online social networks may facilitate appropriate health-related behaviors in the context of obesity.


Social Network Social Network Analysis Social Network Site Online Social Network Free Node 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolin Durst
    • 1
  • Janine Viol
    • 1
  • Nilmini Wickramasinghe
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Information SystemsUniversity Erlangen-NürnbergNürnbergGermany
  2. 2.Epworth HealthCare & Department of BITL & HIRiRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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