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Social Media and Health Education

By Geethanga Millawithanachchi | 29 Jun, 2014

What do you think about educating the public on health conditions using social media? shouldn't the hospitals invest their money and time in it?



A/Prof. Terry HANNAN Moderator Replied at 4:08 AM, 29 Jun 2014

Hashan, I can direct you to the following and see the attached "story" by Prof Lawrence Weed at the start of the 1990s.
Also in “The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nation”s, published in 2005, is a book written by James Surowiecki
Another: The Creative Destruction of Medicine by Eric Topol

1. Coiera E. Social networks, social media, and social diseases. Bmj. 2013;346:f3007. Epub 2013/05/24.
2. Lau AY, Coiera EW. Impact of web searching and social feedback on consumer decision making: a prospective online experiment. Journal of medical Internet research. 2008;10(1):e2. Epub 2008/02/05.
3. Roter DL, Larson S, Sands DZ, Ford DE, Houston T. Can e-mail messages between patients and physicians be patient-centered? Health Commun. 2008;23(1):80-6. Epub 2008/04/30.
4. Sands DZ. ePatients: engaging patients in their own care. Medscape journal of medicine. 2008;10(1):19. Epub 2008/03/08.

Attached resource:

Radha krishna Behara Replied at 5:45 AM, 29 Jun 2014

There is a research by Harvard professors and others which says Social media success of marketing is not effective 63%(Approx) time.
Engaging audience/customers on a constant basis in social media is herculean task when the numbers reach to millions. So the best thing is to reach patients thru body implants or wearable devices which constantly monitor their body vitals and educate them on their health conditions. This method is very effective to reach large scale population; even those who do not speak English and do not have access to internet. I wrote a blog to showcase health industry status and where it is heading here. http://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/health-care-industry-landscape-and... you can find many resources there to find a solution that suit's your requirement.

A/Prof. Terry HANNAN Moderator Replied at 6:11 AM, 29 Jun 2014

Radha, perfectly correct and you emphasise the critical importance of "measuring what we do". It is a herculean task however patients are using it so we need to "tap its potential". Patients are likely to be the best "guiding lights". I like this input.

Chibuike Alagboso Replied at 6:36 AM, 29 Jun 2014

Just went through the blog post. It is a wonderful one. I would love to ask? What is the place of health information in public health.

A/Prof. Terry HANNAN Moderator Replied at 7:31 AM, 29 Jun 2014

Chibuike, health information is critical to public health. Here is a quotation from the article attached to this reply.
"Although health care is considered a service profession, most of what clinicians do is manage information. They collect data (take a history,perform a physical examination, read reports, look up laboratory data, read x-rays), record data (write visit notes, operative reports, prescriptions, and diagnostic test results), transmit data (via telephone, paper or electronic charts, and email), process information to arrive at a likely diagnosis (or hierarchy of possible diagnoses), and initiate treatment. This initial chain of information management is then followed by additional cycles of data collection, management, and processing to monitor and adjust care. Thus,
information is not a necessary adjunct to care, it is care, and effective patient management requires effective management of patients’
clinical data. According to Gonzalo Vecina Neto, head of the Brazilian National Health Regulatory Agency, “There is no health without
management, and there is no management without information.”
This data and information management forms the foundation for public health.
Also go to the Dartmouth Institute site from which the following references come.
2. Welch WP, Miller ME, Welch HG, Fisher ES, Wennberg JE. Geographic variation in expenditures for physicians' services in the United States. The New England journal of medicine. 1993;328(9):621-7. Epub 1993/03/04.
3. Wennberg DE. Variation in the delivery of health care: the stakes are high. Annals of internal medicine. 1998;128(10):866-8. Epub 1998/05/23.
4. Wennberg J, Gittelsohn. Small area variations in health care delivery. Science. 1973;182(117):1102-8. Epub 1973/12/14.
5. Wennberg JE. Practice variation: implications for our health care system. Managed care. 2004;13(9 Suppl):3-7. Epub 2004/10/21.

Attached resource:

Baljit Singh Replied at 8:08 AM, 29 Jun 2014

I have different opinion on this. Although health education on social networking is good idea, but it has to be done very innovatively by mixing entertainment and health. IMO health education is best delivered when patient is not well and he is serious about his/her health. So delivering the health education at point of care should work. And it should be meaningful and personalized to the treatment patient is going through.

Geethanga Millawithanachchi Replied at 10:41 AM, 29 Jun 2014

I believe social media can be used to disseminate health information to health people as well. here we can use it as a preventive measure. we can target the general population rather than the patients. For example this can be used to prevent non communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension, ischemic heart diseases etc.

Chibuike Alagboso Replied at 11:31 AM, 29 Jun 2014

Thank you for the input prof. Terry. Hope to share your comment on my healthnews blog.

Chibuike Alagboso Replied at 11:33 AM, 29 Jun 2014

Yes hassan. And that is basically what we do at healthnewsng.com. We believe people should have access to quality health information to enable them make informed health decisions.

A/Prof. Terry HANNAN Moderator Replied at 2:11 AM, 30 Jun 2014

Chibuike, I was just demonstrating two very short videos to one of my medical undergraduates and the event reminded me of this conversation.
Here are the two very short links that I hope you enjoy and show how health information is critical to public health. Terry
1. Andy Kanter MVP (short) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgvqskZZ5-Y
2. IRDResearch Data visualization using Google Earth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-3lqG3hSYM

Jason Wamulume Replied at 6:09 AM, 30 Jun 2014

Hey the IRD Research data visualization using Google Earth is great staff.

Ujwal Bhattarai Replied at 6:10 AM, 30 Jun 2014

Social networking is best used in my opinion to spread messages like
importance of exercise, healthy diet, risk of smoking and alcohol, junk
food, disease prevention etc so that they do not fall ill in the first
I think its too late to use social networks when the patient is already
unwell and is at the point of care.

A/Prof. Terry HANNAN Moderator Replied at 6:32 AM, 30 Jun 2014

Jason, it is nearly 4 years old. Also it emphasises the need to stand upon the shoulders of those who have gone before us and "learn the lessons". I have a whole batch of links like this. SO here is one more. terry
MDRTB Pakistan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1N8236ReWnM
Look at the mobile device technology used-Old NOKIAs

A/Prof. Terry HANNAN Moderator Replied at 6:39 AM, 30 Jun 2014

Ujwal, you open up the whole discussion on this topic. WHY has social media facilitated "exercise, healthy diet, risk of smoking and alcohol, junk food, disease prevention etc."
Is it because the COUNTERBALANCE of massive advertising by the fast food and tobacco industry do it so much better?
I have some interesting statistics on this somewhere in my libraries of slides.

A/Prof. Terry HANNAN Moderator Replied at 6:40 AM, 30 Jun 2014

Ujwal, I meant Social media FAILED to. facilitate.....

Jason Wamulume Replied at 6:45 AM, 30 Jun 2014

Trust me down here (in Zambia) we not even any near this. Thanks a lot for

A/Prof. Terry HANNAN Moderator Replied at 7:37 AM, 30 Jun 2014

Ujwal, here are some findings from my old diabetic slides.
I hope this adds to this discussion.
Indiantelevision.com presents AdEx India Analysis Fast food outlets advt. on TV registers 22% rise (8 February, 2005)
Key Findings:
• Fast Food Outlets Advertising up 22 per cent on television in 2004 compared to 2003
• Summer seasons see heated Ad Expenditures
• Fast Food Outlets advertising shows a rise from 2000 on TV
• McDonald’s ‘Happy Price Menu’ tops Chart in 2004
• Fast food comes to Iraq: SMH. April 21 2003

Basra: Fastfood giants Pizza Hut and Burger King have set up their first franchises inside war-torn Iraq, even as many aid convoys waited on the borders for the war to officially end. The arrival of the two restaurants - sited inside giant trailers on a British military base near Basra - won a rapturous welcome from soldiers, whose limited range of rations lost their appeal many weeks ago. But some officers were less keen on the new arrivals, which are due to start selling food tomorrow. "I would prefer we got decent showers and toilets sorted out first," muttered one high-ranking officer.

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal By Eric Schlosser (Houghton Mifflin) NYT Book Review 21 Jan 2001
“The Golden Arches,” Schlosser says, “are now more widely recognized than the Christian cross.” Of course, McDonald's isn't alone. “The whole experience of buying fast food,” he writes, “has become so routine, so thoroughly unexceptional and mundane, that it is now taken for granted, like brushing your teeth or stopping for a red light.”
At the very least, Schlosser makes it hard to go on eating fast food in blissful ignorance. But in a larger sense, what “Fast Food Nation” criticizes is the very free-market enthusiasm that has made heroes of the burger fans Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, the latter of whom has famously been a major McDonald's shareholder. Here is another side of the unfettered money culture that has been celebrated as an exciting orgy of entrepreneurialism and opportunity. At one point, Schlosser quotes a scientist who specializes in food safety. This man is discussing the meat industry's reluctance to perform certain tests on its products, but he could be talking about almost any of the questions Schlosser raises about the fast-food business — or, come to think of it, about the culture that takes that business for granted. “If you don't know about a problem,” the man observes, “then you don't have to deal with it.” THOSE

Exercise as a weight loss strategy – directly associated with education and inversely associated with age and body mass index. 55% used exercise as a weight loss strategy alone 58% of these eat fewer calories. Those using exercise as a weight loss strategy, 57% met minimal 1998 N I Health recommendation of ≥150 min•wk-146% met lower end of the 2001 Am. Coll. of Sports Medicine of 200 min•wk-1
30% met the upper end for 300 min•wk-1.
19% met the 2002 Institute of Medicine recommendation of 420 min•wk
Conclusions: Despite the importance of physical activity in a weight loss program,
only about half of the persons trying to lose weight reported using exercise.
Even among those, only slightly more than half met the minimal recommendations
for physical activity.

Radha krishna Behara Replied at 10:17 AM, 30 Jun 2014

We do have some great links and replies on the subject matter. I have a different take on the whole subject because of several following factors that affect the reach to the people for preventive education on health care. In my case i'm writing blogs at http://skillsnest.wordpress.com since 2009 trying to promote the best from around the world for the planet's citizens but my reach is still restricted to few hundreds. Here are the barriers we need to overcome to create a healthy planet of people.
1. Language barriers in using social media and internet in general. Most of the people on the planet still do not have access to internet.
2. Social media popularity is waning check this report in wall street journal on how companies are rethinking about Facebook''s (presently the most popular social media website) http://online.wsj.com/articles/companies-alter-social-media-strategies-140349...
3. Cultural barriers on how patients think about healthy habits or leading a healthy life. People who cannot afford good food (who happens to be most in developing and under developed nations) and who need the most education on healthy life style cannot think about all these because their priority is how to get food for that day.
4. It is hard to change a habit to become healthy. Specially it is very hard to get rid of bad habits. so transforming people's habits is itself is a big subject matter to deal with. I don't think hospitals will like spend money on this.
5. Search has become pervasive and Google is every where. People can search for solutions and they do not need to go to social media for healthy tips.
6. There are hundreds of apps and more coming daily to tell people to behave and i don't think people will like it but there is potential. Even technology companies like Apple is coming with Health kit and Google with so many gadgets to track everything we do.
So my solutions is advanced countries and people who have access to Internet and who do not have language barriers have to be reached differently for helping them with health and those who fall in the above category (developing nations, under developing nation people) have to be reached with a different game plan.
so let's focus on tailor made solutions depending on whom we are targeting. One single solutions won't work. what we could do differently than what we already know? that is the question we need to ask ourselves for any challenge we face.

Extreme Handless Replied at 2:22 PM, 30 Jun 2014

Yes, I think health conditions should be on social media. I use twitter to inform people about #SelfDecompress biomechanics.

If Hospitals were still non-profits. They would educate us via all media. Today, most hospitals are for profit. They don't want us to heal. They want to treat us monthly.

Agung Jenggala Replied at 12:03 AM, 4 Jul 2014

We are here in our college is trying to benefit of the media to give access to health education. We organized a form of network that could help youngster, teenagers and parents the benefit of healthy living. The challenge is how to make the parents watch over and apply it to their teens or children media flatform as often as once a day.

Joaquin Blaya, PhD Moderator Replied at 4:31 PM, 7 Jul 2014

Can you explain a bit more what you are trying to do and also why you are
trying to have parents use this once a day? It seems very intensive.

Gerente de Desarrollo, eHealth Systems <http://www.ehs.cl/>
Research Fellow, Escuela de Medicina de Harvard <http://hms.harvard.edu/>
Moderador, GHDOnline.org <http://www.ghdonline.org/>

Mbiydzenyuy Ferdinant Sonyuy Replied at 4:04 AM, 8 Jul 2014

Is it worth it?

YES. This is because this forum can extend far and wide. Many national and international organizations are increasingly becoming engaged with social media. This is because the population therein is high and requires this media for communication. This is a great means to empowering people's health by disseminating vital health information. The NCD world can benefit greatly from this. 

Mbiydzenyuy Ferdinant Sonyuy
Administrative Assistant,
DHS Office,Nkwen,Bamenda

    "Jesus is Lord"

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make  you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

chris macrae Replied at 6:35 AM, 8 Jul 2014

like your connection of healthcare and womens microcredt - what other facors differentiate your sustainability and networking reach? chris macrae www.womenuni.com

Didier Demassosso Replied at 8:58 AM, 8 Jul 2014

Hello to All. Thank you Hashan , for your question. What do you think
about educating the public on health conditions using social media?
shouldn't the hospitals invest their money and time in it?

I think it would be so laudable to use social media for educational
purposes. I have reasons and evidence to think that it would be a
great investment both for hospitals , educations and health
professionals. In my context , social media is very popular and women
and girls use it more than men and boys. Educating women and girls on
health issues is educating the whole family ,the community and

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