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Title: Social Media in health. What are the safety concerns for healthcare consumers?
Author: Lau, Annie Y.S
Gabarrón Hortal, Elia
Fernández Luque, Luis
Armayones Ruiz, Manuel  
Keywords: public access to information
social media
consumer health information
Issue Date: 1-Jun-2012
Publisher: Health Information Management Journal
Citation: Lau, A.; Gabarrón, E.; Fernandez, L.; Armayones, M. (2012). "Social Media in health. What are the safety concerns for healthcare consumers?". Health Information Management Journal, 41, 2, p.30-35. ISSN 1833-3583
Abstract: Recent literature has discussed the unintended consequences of clinical information technologies (IT) on patient safety, yet there has been little discussion about the safety concerns in the area of consumer health IT. This paper presents a range of safety concerns for consumers in social media, with a case study on YouTube. We conducted a scan of abstracts on 'quality criteria' related to YouTube. Five areas regarding the safety of YouTube for consumers were identifi ed: (a) harmful health material targeted at consumers (such as inappropriate marketing of tobacco or direct-to-consumer drug advertising); (b) public display of unhealthy behaviour (such as people displaying self-injury behaviours or hurting others); (c) tainted public health messages (i.e. the rise of negative voices against public health messages); (d) psychological impact from accessing inappropriate, offensive or biased social media content; and (e) using social media to distort policy and research funding agendas. The examples presented should contribute to a better understanding about how to promote a safe consumption and production of social media for consumers, and an evidence-based approach to designing social media interventions for health. The potential harm associated with the use of unsafe social media content on the Internet is a major concern. More empirical and theoretical studies are needed to examine how social media infl uences consumer health decisions, behaviours and outcomes, and devise ways to deter the dissemination of harmful infl uences in social media.
Language: English
ISSN: 1833-3583MIAR
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