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Thesis statement: the impact of social media on the quality of health care is determined by the level of participation
For social media to be successful and impact the chosen target population, it must be centered on participation. Social media, members engage, interact, and follow up on topics easily. Therefore, social media and public health together can be defined as the interaction of individuals through these platforms on various health care issues. The interaction is two-way rather than one-way. It does not just cover the healthcare professionals and the information they disseminate through social media platforms. It also covers the patients and healthcare organizations who share healthcare information, diagnosis, and treatment option on their own social media platforms. Social media channels provide a fast way to pass the information and have the involved individuals act on it without having to rely on traditional forms of communication. Social media and public health require the interaction of various mix of integral social media channels to improve the chances of success.
Prassad (2013) in his study showed that the potential of social media on public health is yet to be fully explored. He determined that behavior change directed towards building a healthier population is possible through social media platforms. According to him, existing forms of social media channels such as Face book where patients and organizations interact on healthcare matters should not be considered as a fad. This is perhaps why the government has taken a keen interest in promoting and marketing healthcare campaigns through social media. The potential of success increases, following statistics that at least 70% of the internet users are indeed active in social media on various aspects. In May of 2012, the social media health platform was revolutionized when facebook allowed patients to share donor requests and pleas. The result was a potential increase of members discussing donor information and an increase in online donors.
Towards 1995 the rise of HIV new infections among the youth necessitated the government to establish and devise new ways to combat the disease. This coupled with the need to reach a wider audience during the outbreak of dangerous diseases such as SAS and Ebola brought social media to the forefront of healthcare discussions (Cain 2011). Today, social media has become part and parcel of healthcare. Cancer patients receive support through social media through relevant support groups, transplant patients seek donors through social media, and healthcare professionals alert potential patients on the spread of a disease and treatment options. In November 2013, the Ministry of Health called for more action to focus on developing tools for promoting healthcare through social media.
Recent discussions and debates on healthcare have brought back the debate generating around social media. While many studies show that social media is effective in curbing the spread of diseases. The recent outbreak of Ebola saw an increase in the updates by the CDC and cautions for potential patients, these were credited for curbing the spread of the disease internationally (Hawn 2009). The movement from basic information dissemination to functional information spread was evident. However, when it comes to social media and healthcare professionals, some studies advise users should err on the side of caution. Many doctors have gotten into trouble, lost their positions, and faced
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