Social media enabled interactions in healthcare: Towards a taxonomy

Edin Smailhodzic*, Albert Boonstra, David Langley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Healthcare users and providers increasingly utilize social media to interact with one another. For a future understanding of when and how these interactions supplement or replace offline doctor-patient interactions, it is essential to understand who interacts, about what, and how these interactions can be categorized in a taxonomy. We draw on affordance theory and employ a mixed-methods approach to study social media interactions among healthcare users and providers. We first engage in qualitative content analysis, which is followed by cluster analysis. We identify five archetypal interactions and categorize these in a taxonomy that adds to current literature on how social media is utilized in the healthcare context. We also provide a clear and systematic overview of the interactions in different social media categories that can stimulate future research regarding doctor-patient interactions. Furthermore, we identify a new and distinct type of social media enabled interaction in healthcare, namely lifestyle support, focusing on prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114469
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Early online date19-Oct-2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2021

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