Transformative effects of social media: How patients’ use of social media affects roles and relationships in healthcare

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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Social media have started changing the way that many industries work. However, there is a lack of understanding of these changes, particularly in the context of healthcare, which is known for high information asymmetry between healthcare providers and patients, and authoritative relationships. Yet, the high proliferation of social media in healthcare enables patients to easily communicate with one another, exchanging informational and emotional support. However, it remains unclear how social media is used by patients, how it affects their behavior, their identities and their relationships with healthcare providers. We conduct a literature review and four empirical studies. First, we conduct a systematic literature review on patients’ use of social media and effects of such use. Second, we explore patients’ use of various categories of social media and propose a taxonomy of interactions enabled by social media in healthcare. Third, we explore how the use of social media by two chronic disease patient communities changes their behaviors and identities as well as their relationships with their healthcare providers. Fourth, we explore how healthcare providers’ interactions with patients who use social media change those providers’ occupational identity. Finally, we test to what extent, and through which mechanism, patients’ use of social media changes their relationships with healthcare providers. Taken together, these findings provide a new explanation of the developing role of social media in changing - and strengthening - organization-customer relationships.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Boonstra, Albert, Supervisor
  • Langley, David, Supervisor
Award date18-Oct-2018
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-94-034-1054-8
Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-1053-1
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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