Impact of using social media to increase patient information provision, networking and communication

Vasilica, CM ORCID: 2015, Impact of using social media to increase patient information provision, networking and communication , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Background: Social media are powerful communication systems that enable sharing, networking and information generation on an unprecedented scale. However, there is limited evidence as to how social media mechanisms are adopted by patients within health to engage with others, locate and generate information, or as a source of support. The primary aim of the study was to adopt social media to enable patients to engage in the process of producing and sharing health information and examine the impact of engagement on a patients’ self-efficacy. Research approach: A realist synthesis progressed in two phases (Oct 2011–March 2015) to determine the influential mechanisms (M) of the study, the context (C) in which they work and the outcome (O), known as CMO configurations. Phase 1: development of Greater Manchester Kidney Information Network (GMKIN), staff and patient training (Oct 2011–Sept 2013), moderation and site refinement (Sept 2013-Oct 2014). Phase 2: six steps of realist synthesis to identify, test, and extend a set of theories/ propositions (Oct 2011–March 2015); mixed methods realist evaluation, observation of on-line activity, self- efficacy scales, blogs and interviews (0/6 months) with 14 patients (Nov 2013–Sept 2014). Findings: The study strengthened evidence that engagement plays a crucial role in a healthcare social media intervention, building on an existing engagement model and knowledge. Three levels of engagement were identified: influencing roles, the conversationalists and general browsing. Engagement, an overarching mechanism, was a continuous process; influenced by attention, novelty, sociability, information and interactivity factors. Disengagement was characterised by inattention, triggered by environmental factors and decoupling, resulting from overwhelming information, health issues and negativity. Notifications often persuaded patients’ to re-engage. CMOs were identified and explored, outlining the role of each mechanism (Social Network Sites, Facebook, Twitter, blogging and forums) in triggering outcomes. Patients’ engagement contributed to information generation, which satisfied information needs. Satisfaction of information needs thorough social engagement influenced self-efficacy (in 13 of 14 people) and better management of illness. Social outcomes included seeking employment and getting involved in other things. Conclusion: This study refined and extended propositions based on a real life intervention. It combined Social Media mechanisms and engagement concepts in the context of health and tested what worked for whom, when and how. Using an innovative approach it generated new knowledge in understanding social media impact, health engagement practices and communities of practice.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society
Funders: School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Sciences
Depositing User: CM Vasilica
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2016 11:54
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 23:26

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