How social media affects our practice.


Social media is here to stay, permitting greater connectivity and communication, but how do social media affect healthcare delivery and rehabilitation nursing in particular? For the practice of rehabilitation nursing, what are the advantages of social media along with the negatives? A recent study by Freeman (2012) reports that more than 90% of those aged 18–24 trust the health information they find on social media. Today, 72% of online adults use social networking sites with individuals 65 and older having increased their access to social media from 13% in 2009 to 43% in 2013 (Brenner & Smith, 2013). With regard to accessing healthcare-related content, the PricewaterhouseCoopers (2012) survey reveals that onethird of consumers now use social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other online forums. Even though numerous factors affect social media usage, healthcare providers are recognizing the need to take a more active role in this form of connectivity. For instance, innovators such as Mayo Clinic, Memorial Hermann, Baylor, and Kaiser Permanente are effectively using social media, but not all providers have the time, expertise, and resources to achieve a proactive and participatory approach to social media. Many healthcare organizations are quickly discovering that this form of two-way communication requires dedicated manpower to constantly monitor, answer questions, maintain quality control, and to create meaningful, useful online content. Benefits associated with social media participation are listed in Table 1. Some of the major criticisms of social media include concerns about the trustworthiness/accuracy of information, privacy worries, and inability of certain groups to access the Internet. Despite the ubiquitous use of social media, the scientific literature is only now beginning to evolve regarding how social media are influencing communication among patients and healthcare teams. Rehabilitation nurses must help cultivate in our patients and their families the importance of identifying and accessing reputable (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, Cochrane Library, PubMed, World Health Organization, etc.) and current sources of scientific evidence specific to their topics of interest. Though the use of social media appears promising, the evidence suggests that its value to both patients and healthcare providers is still evolving and warrants further rigorous investigation. Determination of its applicability and effectiveness in managing diverse populations and health conditions will be essential as we move forward. ARN is strongly embracing social media as reflected in its use of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to disseminate

DOI: 10.1002/rnj.131

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Cite this paper

@article{Miller2013HowSM, title={How social media affects our practice.}, author={Elaine Tilka Miller}, journal={Rehabilitation nursing : the official journal of the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses}, year={2013}, volume={38 6}, pages={273-4} }