An Introduction to Participatory Health Through Social Media

S. Syed-Abdul*, E. Gabarron, A. Y.S. Lau, M. Househ

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)


Social media provides online platforms for interactions around various health topics relating to patient education, health promotion, public relations, and crisis communication. An important aspect of social media for health communication is to provide valuable peer, social, and emotional support for the general public and patients. Patients can share their experiences through discussion forums, chat rooms and instant messaging, or online consultation with a qualified clinician. There are a variety of benefits and limitations in using social media in healthcare. A perceived benefit is the accessibility and improved access to health information to various population groups, regardless of age, education, race/ethnicity, and locality compared to traditional communication methods. While these changing patterns may lessen health disparities, traditional inequalities and overall Internet access remain. The primary limitations for social media are quality concerns and the lack of reliability of the health information. The large volume of information available through social media and the possibility for inaccuracies posted by users present challenges when validating health-related information. Social media brings a new dimension to health care, offering a platform used by the public, patients, and health professionals to communicate about health issues with the possibility of potentially improving health outcomes. Although there are benefits of using social media for health communication, the information needs to be monitored for quality and reliability, and the confidentiality and privacy need to be maintained. This book explains how social media methodologies and platforms are used in healthcare.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationParticipatory Health through Social Media
EditorsShabbir Syed-Abdul, Elia Gabarron, Annie Y. S. Lau
Place of PublicationSan Diego
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780128095485
ISBN (Print)9780128092699
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2016


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