Social media and healthcare research: From “art” to “heart” of science?

Filipinos are among the top users of social media. Familiarity with technology, English proficiency and a willingness to speak their mind behind the safety of non-face to face mode of communication make the Filipino youth especially active in social media. With the sale of smartphones that allow internet access anytime anywhere, communication is literally at our fingertips.

Government agencies such as the Department of Health (DOH) have taken advantage of social media. Having its own facebook and twitter account, DOH uses social media for health promotion and public advisories. Vital health information is based on reliable scientific health research, such as on health statistics, epidemiology, diagnostics, management and prevention of disease.

The government has put health research at the top of its priorities for spending, and healthcare providers are encouraged to engage in research activities. Research in social media is an exciting new field ready to be explored. However, there are unique ethical concerns to deal with when conducting social media research, such as challenges surrounding informed consent, privacy, confidentiality and disclosure.

The potential of social media research and the different challenges that need to be considered will be our topic of discussion during the #HealthXPH tweetchat this Saturday, Feb 14, 2015 at 9PM / 8PM EST.

  • T1 Suggest potential research problems and designs that involve social media.
    T2 How can we protect privacy and confidentiality in social media research?
    T3 Is informed consent needed for research involving publicly posted statements or messages (tweets/shout-outs)?