Improved Healthcare Facilities Using Social Network Sites May Risk Private Data

Improved-Healthcare-Facilities-Using-Social-Network-Sites-May-Risk-Private-Data

According to the study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, although Social Network Sites (SNSs) facilitate communication between healthcare professionals, they are limited in protecting data

Advances in SNSs have improved the healthcare practices by communicating with healthcare providers and patients. In the latest study, researchers evaluated the utilization of SNSs for communication between health professionals in frontline clinical practice, professional networks and education and training. Study evaluated literature published within the past 10 years in different databases, which included social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, WeChat, and health or health profession. Out of the 33 works in this study, the majority were surveys (25) with six interviews.

According to the analysis, studies stated that SNSs had improved communication and information sharing between professionals. Benefits for SNSs includes network building, collaboration, and educational interactions. However, limitation in SNSs included technical knowledge, concerns on data protection, privacy and liability and concerns about professionalism.

“As the growth of SNSs is expected to rise, health professions should have a better understanding of how to attain secure and appropriate use of these platforms,” concluded first author Windy Chan, and colleagues. “Formal training should be provided to health professionals for the safe use of SNSs. Although not much mentioned in the included papers, a practical issue that should be given attention is how the SNS companies manage, analyze, repurpose or even disclose the data and content of communication. Health service institutes and providers must consider carefully in using SNSs for communicating confidential data to avoid jeopardizing patient privacy.”

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