Social Media and Health

Use of social media platforms and data to disseminate health information and to understand and improve individual and population health behaviors and outcomes.

The Digital Hood: Social Media Use Among Youth In Disadvantaged Neighborhoods

Mar. 29, 2016

Robin Stevens, Stacia Gilliard-Matthews, Jamie Dunaev, Marcus Woods, Bridgette Brawner

In New Media & Society, Robin Stevens and colleagues examine the role of social media in the lives of youth living in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Stevens conducted semi-structured interviews with 30 female and 30 male youths about their social worlds and neighborhoods, both online and offline. The study took place in predominantly African American and Hispanic neighborhoods. The researchers discovered a dynamic and concerning interplay between the geographic neighborhood and digital neighborhood, whereby negative social interactions in the geographic neighborhood are...

Cancer Communication in the Social Media Age

Mar. 22, 2016

Mina Sedrak, Roger Cohen, Raina Merchant, Marilyn Schapira

In JAMA Oncology, Mina Sedrak and colleagues, including Raina Merchant and Marilyn Schapira, analyzed Twitter content to describe communication about lung cancer clinical trials and to examine where links embedded in tweets about therapeutic trials are leading the public.  In an analysis of a random 10% of tweets identified, they find that Twitter is commonly used for support and prevention. Although some tweets refer to clinical trials, virtually none are used for recruitment or provide links to enrollment websites. Twitter’s potential to promote cancer clinical trial accrual...

Are Patients With Cancer Less Willing to Share Their Health Information? Privacy, Sensitivity, and Social Purpose

Jan. 29, 2016

David Grande, David Asch, Fei Wan, Angela Bradbury, Reshma Jagsi, Nandita Mitra

In the Journal of Oncology Practice, David Grande and colleagues, including David Asch and Nandita Mitra, assess patient views on use of health information to build population cancer databases for research and care delivery. Participants with and without cancer were randomly assigned to rate scenarios based on their willingness to share their electronic health information in each scenario. The research finds that participants with and without cancer had a similar willingness to share health information. Both patient groups identified the purpose of information use as the most...

Use of Mobile Apps: A Patient‐centered Approach

Nov. 5, 2015

Lauren VonHoltz, Kendra Houdek, Brendan Carr, Frances Shofer, Flaura Winston, C. William Hanson, Raina Merchant.

In Academic Emergency Medicine, Lauren VonHoltz and colleagues, including Raina Merchant and Flaura Winston, surveyed 300 Emergency Department patients to explore their use of smartphone health applications (apps).  Of 300 participants, 212 (71%) owned smartphones, 201 (95%) had apps, and 94 (44%) had health apps. The most frequently downloaded health apps focused on exercise, brain teasers or diet. Only 2% of the health apps were recommended to patients by their health care provider. Patients used their health apps intermittently, with 55% of apps used once a month or less.  They...

Linking social media and medical record data: a study of adults presenting to an academic, urban emergency department

Oct. 15, 2015

Kevin A Padrez, Lyle Ungar, Hansen Schwartz, Robert J Smith, Shawndra Hill, Tadas Antanavicius, Dana Brown,  Patrick Crutchley, David AschRaina Merchant

In BMJ Quality and Safety, Kevin Padrez and colleagues, including David Asch and Raina Merchant, explore the acceptability to patients and potential utility to researchers of a database linking patients’ social media content with their electronic medical record (EMR) data. The authors approached adult Facebook/Twitter users who presented to an emergency department. Many patients were willing to share and link their social media data with EMR data. Patients that shared their social media data were younger, more likely to post at least once a day, and more likely to present to the...

What do patients say about emergency departments in online reviews? A qualitative study

Sep. 14, 2015

Austin S. Kilaru, Zachary F. Meisel, Breah Paciotti, Yoonhee P. Ha, Robert J. Smith, Benjamin L. Ranard, Raina M. Merchant

In BMJ Quality and Safety, Austin Kilaru and colleagues, including Zachary Meisel and Raina Merchant, seek to better understand how patients’ use of web-based tools to reflect on their health care experiences compares with in-patient surveys. They analyzed online reviews for U.S. emergency departments (EDs) posted on the consumer ratings website Yelp. The authors collected reviews describing experiences of ED care for a random sample of 100 U.S. hospitals. They analyzed the content of the reviews against themes from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and...