Posted in #HCSM, Research

Discordance in patients’ and professionals’ motives and use of social media in health care


The results of a recent Dutch study has indicated discordance in patients’ and professionals’ motives and use of social media in health care.

The study set out to investigate patients’ and health professionals’ (a) motives and use of social media for health-related reasons, and (b) barriers and expectations for health-related social media use.

The results showed that patients primarily used Twitter (59.9%), especially for increasing knowledge and exchanging advice and Facebook (52.3%), particularly for social support and exchanging advice.

Professionals primarily used LinkedIn (70.7%) and Twitter (51.2%), for communication with their colleagues and marketing reasons.

Patients’ main barriers for social media use were privacy concerns and unreliability of the information. Professionals’ main barriers were inefficiency and lack of skills. Both patients and professionals expected future social media use, provided that they can choose their time of social media usage.

What are the implications of this study for those seeking to leverage social media in healthcare? The study suggests that we must take into account the underlying motives, barriers and expectations of both healthcare professionals and patients in their use (or not) of social media.


Antheunis ML, Tates K, Nieboer TE. Patients’ and health professionals’ use of social media in healthcare: Motives, barriers and expectations. Patient Educ Couns. 2013 Jul 27. pii: S0738-3991(13)00265-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2013.06.020. [Epub ahead of print]