New Health Social Networks Could Revolutionise Patient Care

Facebook-style online health communities are helping to improve patient care and provide rich data for new health innovations, a study has found.

Warwick Business School

Online communities like HealthUnlocked and Mumsnet are not only helping people come together and cope with chronic illnesses – such as diabetes or mental health issues – but their shared experiences and knowledge of hospitals, healthcare services and prescription drugs is leading to improvement in patient care.

In the research, Eivor Oborn, of Warwick Business School, and colleagues, argue there is a critical need for patients to be supported in managing and coping with their chronic diseases and this is being done more effectively outside the system within online communities, with them providing a new pool of knowledge for patients, healthcare providers and companies to tap into.