Consumers' online social network topologies and health behaviours

Annie Y S Lau*, Adam Dunn, Nathan Mortimer, Judith Proudfoot, Annie Andrews, Siaw Teng Liaw, Jacinta Crimmins, Amaël Arguel, Enrico Coiera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


Personally controlled health management systems (PCHMS) often consist of multiple design features. Yet, they currently lack empirical evidence on how consumers use and engage with a PCHMS. An online prospective study was designed to investigate how 709 consumers used a web-based PCHMS to manage their physical and emotional wellbeing over five months. The web-based PCHMS,, was developed at UNSW and incorporates an untethered personal health record, consumer care pathways, forums, polls, diaries, and messaging links with healthcare professionals. The two PCHMS features that consumers used most frequently, found most useful, and engaging were the social features, i.e. forum and poll. Compared to participants who did not use any PCHMS social feature, those who used either the poll or the forum were 12.3% more likely to visit a healthcare professional (P=0.001) during the study. Social network analysis of forums revealed a spectrum of social interaction patterns-from question-and-answer structures to community discussions. This study provides a basis for understanding how a PCHMS can be used as a socially-driven intervention to influence consumers' health behaviours.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMEDINFO 2013
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 14th World Congress on Medical and Health Informatics
EditorsChristoph Ulrich Lehmann, Elske Ammenwerth, Christian Nøhr
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherIOS Press
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781614992899
ISBN (Print)9781614992882
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event14th World Congress on Medical and Health Informatics (MEDINFO) - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 20 Aug 201323 Aug 2013

Publication series

NameStudies in Health Technology and Informatics
PublisherIOS Press
ISSN (Print)0926-9630
ISSN (Electronic)1879-8365


Conference14th World Congress on Medical and Health Informatics (MEDINFO)

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Publisher 2013. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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