Contribution of the IMIA Social Media Working Group

The use of contemporary social media or web 2.0 for the promotion and sustainability of holistic self-management is not well documented. Over the years, individuals have come to increasingly rely on web-based health information. Eighty one percent of U.S. adults use the internet, and 59% say they have looked online for health information in the past year [1]. Today, people are increasingly aware of their health conditions and status [2] as social media offers a spectrum of highly interactive tools, including wikis (e.g., Wikicancer), blogs (e.g., SixUntilMe), Twitter (e.g., @QuitSmoking123), Facebook and thematic patient networks (e.g., PatientsLikeMe and CureTogether) which allow individual engagement and offer health information and patient contributions to create a supportive patient conversation ecosystem.
Increasingly, thanks to advances in sensor technologies and the social web, people are starting to capture personal health-related data in the course of their routine daily activities. This has facilitated the concept of self-quantifiation [3], concerned with capturing, recording, analyzing and sharing personal health data, thereby rendering the data conveyed through social media richer than ever. Self-quantifiation applies to diseases, as well as to preventive applications – individuals are able to track symptoms that may be associated with a certain disease or health condition (e.g., metabolic syndrome) and share them with peers or health professionals [4]. This is also a good example of crowd sourcing, where information accumulated from patients (in this case) generates a new body of knowledge and evidence. In this paper we discuss how social media and holistic care may work together; more specifially however, our objective is
to document, from different perspectives, how social networks have impacted, supported and helped sustain holistic self-participatory care.

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