Health Care Social Media Review #21: Social Media Taps Digital Health

Social Media Health Care Review: Social Media Meets Digital Health

This edition of the Health Care Social Media (HCSM) Review explores recent discussions and research on how social media collides with health promotion, prevention and wellness efforts. While a number of submissions highlighted social media, many spoke more to digital health as a whole vs. social media specifically, an important differentiation. So, let’s explore that first.

Digital Health Takes Center Stage

In health care social media discussions, lines quickly blur as people share and develop ideas that relate to possible close cousins of social media including big data, wearable tech or mobile technology. Refer to this article by Healthy Startups on the 100 Trends That Will Change Healthcare in 2013 for a full list of potential relatives.

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Don’t Forget About Email

How can email be used as a health intervention?

Many are enthusiastic about the possibility of social media being used as a behavior change intervention. For some, the verdict is still out. While we continue to advance the science behind social, don’t forget about email (and search for that matter). For today, let’s look at email.

Email at Work

Oncologists who receive email reminders are more likely to ask terminally ill patients about their end-of-life wishes, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Before the implementation of email reminders, fewer than 15% of patients had their final wishes recorded. After one year of the intervention, one-third of the patients had their final wishes recorded.

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Call for Submissions: Healthcare Social Media Review #21

Health and Wellness

How can social media support prevention and wellness?

January is the month of new resolutions yet a study out of the University of Scranton finds that only 8% of us actually achieve these resolutions. At the same time, about 1 in 3 Americans plan on buying a new fitness tech in 2013. Yet as the image above reminds us, at varying degrees, health is more than a click of a button.

On Wednesday, Jan. 16, SocialButterfly will host the HealthCare Social Media Review, the peer reviewed blog carnival for everyone interested in health care social media. Given the importance of prevention amidst a nation with an expanding waistline, this edition will focus on how social media collides with health promotion, prevention and wellness.

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Top Posts of 2012 – Social Marketing Meets Social Innovation

Where do social marketers get their inspiration?

In an attempt to share how social innovation and social marketing intersect with a colleague of mine, the colleague responded something along the lines of: “I don’t get why it matters. Social innovation sounds like everything we’re already doing in social marketing.”

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DTR Your Messaging Bromance

Is it too bold to suggest messaging doesn’t change behavior?

A colleague of mine shared an article titled, Should Public Health Campaigns Change Their Messages? based on a study by Statistics Canada. The study shares interesting insights on the relationship between messaging and behavior change based on its 12 years of longitudinal data from the Canadian National Population Health Survey among Canadians aged 50 or older with a chronic disease. Findings show that:

  • 3 in 4 smokers with respiratory disease… do not quit smoking
  • Most people with diabetes or heart disease… will not become more physically active, and
  • For people diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, diabetes or stroke… virtually, no one will increase their intake of fruit and vegetables.

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Social Innovation and the Dogged Pursuit of Being Unreasonable

image courtesy of an_untrained_eye

What’s Next? That’s the question The Social Innovation Summit asked us last week. Following the event’s hashtag #SIS12, I connected with Katie Ferrari, who’s passionate about storytelling for social innovation. I invited her to share her top observations from the conference. She asked if she could touch on storytelling in her recap, to which I replied: even better. Enjoy!

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Vote for the New SocialButterfly

Do you have 3 seconds? Please vote.

Truth is: This year, I debated whether or not to keep blogging. <gasp!> Blogging, to many, had become a business. Bloggers churned out posts to meet quotas and game search engines to increase rankings, chase money or achieve fame. That’s not me.

To me, blogging is about learning. It’s a way to learn about how to use all our tools to do good–with all the other kids in the sandbox. So I’ve decided to power on–but not without a few changes…

Live. Learn. Fly.

Given its been three years since SocialButterfly had a facelift, her time is due. Using the responsive Portfolio WordPress theme as a base, the amazing team at ArrowRoot Media (hat tip to founder Jaki Levy and designer Brielle Maxwell) has been working on a design refresh for SocialButterfly.

Inspired by the concept of a “portfolio career,” the theme seemed a perfect match given my new role at RTI International and as I enter my second year teaching at American University and continue to help grow the Rampy MS Research Foundation. Refresh goals include making the site faster and compatible across mobile devices while also giving it a more customized design.

The Designs

Option A:

Option B: 

A Word of Thanks

2012 has been quite a year of discovery for me–especially in examining the role of leadership in my life and what it means to truly be, act and serve as a leader. I’ll spare you the diatribe and instead offer you encouragement:

No matter the dark forces working to bring you down, hold you back or separate you from your true self, hold on to your values, dreams, integrity, curiosity and love for learning, people and this world. We need you and the people you’ll help inspire.

Thank you readers and friends who have stood by SocialButterfly, even when I haven’t been actively writing or responsive. May we continue to live, learn, and fly–together.

Gratitude Goes Viral

What are you thankful for?

This is what Facebook asked its members Nov. 22 in a rare switch from its usual “What’s on your mind?” prompt. Little did it know (perhaps), that a number of Facebook users were already sharing what they were thankful for–once a day, everyday–throughout the month of November. To my knowledge, this was no organized effort, just an organic effort that snowballed.

30 Days of Thanksgiving

My friend (and one of the best designers I know) Katie Keys, participated and shares: “I saw others posting things they were thankful for, and thought it would be a great way to reflect on my own blessings in my life each day. It inspired me and I decided to join in.”

Katie wasn’t alone. I also saw posts from other friends,  family and colleagues all sharing what they were thankful for each day.  Surely, this couldn’t have been a coincidence. Did you participate or notice your friends doing the same? Please share in the comments!

Unwinding the Art Behind the Science

Can online, social networks really help people stop smoking?

This is what 100 experts came together to discuss in a 2-day workshop in Washington, D.C. The result was a proposed research agenda on online social networks and smoking cessation. The group proposes 34 questions they deem most pressing in four categories: advancing theory, understanding fundamental mechanisms, intervention approaches, and evaluation.

This was 2010.

There is A Need

We are on the edge of 2013. And while the Web is ubiquitous–making qualms between offline and online approaches somewhat void when we should be looking at the overall customer experience…We’re still working to better understand many of the questions proposed:

  • How well do theoretical models of social influence translate between offline and online contexts?
  • How does information spread through an online social network? Are there identifiable patterns of information spread that can be leveraged in intervention research?
  • Can key participants in a network be identified and targeted to foster information diffusion or make it more efficient?
  • What are the drivers of the viral spread of an application, concept, or innovation through online networks?
  • What predicts engagement in an online social network?

All 34 questions themselves are invigorating. I encourage you to take them back to your team to fodder discussion and brainstorming. We need to be asking these questions. We need to test our ideas, explore what’s working and share it with our colleagues. But there’s a greater need.

You Can Help Solve It

As a practitioner, one item stood out among the research agenda. It’s worth filing in your back pocket and pulling out as evidence when you’re in one of those meetings:

“While there are ways in which offline and online behaviors overlap and can reciprocally inform models, mechanisms, implementation, and evaluation, there are also important differences that require critical thinking about online networks. There is a need to challenge and test the assumptions inherent in traditional models when developing, implementing, and evaluating online interventions.”

You are called to challenge traditional models–even tested ones. Rather, find inspirational models. Study them. Find what’s working. Lean on your training, work to better understand people and unwind the assumptions you bring to even the tiniest of tasks. If you’re a graphic designer for example, maybe you look into the psychology of color and how that impacts design and behavior. This is the art behind the science, so go grab your paintbrush.

What do you think about the proposed research agenda? What questions would you add?

Discovery into the Online Health Experience of American Indian and Alaskan Natives

image courtesy of nattu

What is the main source of health information for Gen Y American Indian and Alaskan Natives? Wikipedia–and they aren’t alone.

In a study published this month in the Journal of Health Communication, researchers examined the use of online health information resources used by American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN). The study is key as it helps fill a gap as often the AIAN population, about 4.9 million in population, is grouped under “other” in most research studies, including those conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

In Search of Insight

The study focused on American Indians in the Central Plains region of the United States specifically and provides insight for those working with members in this community. The study aimed to answer the following research questions:

  1. How do AIAN access the Internet?
  2. How important is the Internet as a health information resource for AIAN?
  3. Where online do AIAN go for health information?
  4. Does gender influence AIAN health Internet usage?
  5. Does age influence AIAN health Internet usage?
  6. How much do AIAN trust online health information?

998 Great Plains AIAN participated in the study. Some of the insights gathered include:

  • Home being the primary place participants accessed the Internet.
  • Email, social networking and school activities dominated Internet-use.
  • 59% reported using the Internet to look for health information with 23% stated that retrieval of health information was their most important online activity. Looking closer, researchers discuss that once the Internet is perceived as useful, it is used intensively for health-related activities.
  • General health and weight control information were the two main health-related uses of the Internet.
  • Generation Y participants relied more heavily on collective health knowledge with 31% sharing that Wikipedia is their main source for health information. Generation X tended to frequent sites containing information from expert sources such as WebMD (37%).
  • Overwhelmingly, more women used the Internet for health-related activities compared to men. Researchers suggest that health communication campaigns employing the Internet may be more effective in reaching AIAN women.
  • A need for accurate gender and age tailoring for programs that use Internet resources or that address health knowledge and education among these groups.

Call to Attention

The majority of AIAN members live in metropolitan areas while 40% live on reservations or tribal land. With a median age of 29 years, AIAN represent a younger population than does the rest of the nation with about 26% living in poverty. Given my own family heritage has faint traces of Cherokee heritage (rumor has it a great, great grandpa down the line was a Cherokee Indian chief), stats like these pull on the heart strings.

The researchers note that there were “very few” Native-specific health sites and those that existed were not widely publicized. Given preliminary analysis, they share that if there were more Native-specific health sites and people know about them (don’t over look this second part), AIAN would be far more likely to use and trust those sites. Researchers also shared that while the Internet is the proper channel to reach younger audiences, when it comes to health campaigns, they stress that interpersonal communication or using peer networks may be more effective.

Are any of these findings surprising to you? What insights can you share based on your work with AIAN communities? 

Citation. Mugur V. Geana, Christine Makosky Daley, Niaman Nazir, Lance Cully, Jesse
Etheridge, Caroline Bledowski, Won S. Choi & K. Allen Greiner (2012): Use of Online Health
 Information Resources by American Indians. Journal of Health Communication, 17(7), 820-835. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2011.650831