Social media consist of multiple platforms which are usually internet-based that helps in communication. It can also be defined as a process by which the exchange of knowledge and information can take place. Nowadays, social media can benefit health care in multiple ways (Hao & Gao., 2017). Use of smartphones by healthcare professionals could improve the delivery of the care (Ferguson, 2013). Physicians could connect with the communities where they can access news articles and can read about medical developments in the field of research (Ventola, 2014). Social media can offer healthcare professionals like doctors and nurses with applications that can help in sharing information about health. People can also debate on issues related to health practices. Plus, social media provides a platform to interact with the public and also to promote health behaviour. It can also be used as a tool for collaboration purpose where practitioners could exchange dialogues between their peers and colleagues. They can also keep their knowledge updated with advances that are going on around the world. Healthcare professional could also look at surgeries and infer about the things they want to know.
Even nurses could pose questions and take part in online forums. They can also discuss the health issues related to the patients. Healthcare providers could also exchange information about their options for the treatment. In all, social media provides a brand new method of communication between health professionals which was not possible before this. Another plus point of social media is that clinical education providers can provide knowledge to healthcare professionals. It could also be used to provide training to professionals. Therefore, healthcare professionals can learn new things and can gain training to perform new techniques in their field (Hao & Gao., 2017).
Studies have also shown that providing structural and physical opportunities and accurate training and education can enhance collaborative practice. This can be done with the aid of social media only (Morley & Cashell., 2017). Social media could also be used in making strategy for the promotions of health interventions and prevention of chronic diseases (Chau et al., 2018). Studies have also stated that educational interventions through social media are necessary to help healthcare professionals to navigate safely and in a proper manner which is suitable for their future role that is of a healthcare professional (Henning et al., 2017). Hence, the two key benefits of social media in the healthcare system are communication and education besides training. Therefore, if social media is used correctly then it has the possibility to promote public health.
Social media can be very useful for the healthcare system but it also has many limitations. They are uploading of content which is inaccurate or inappropriate, violation of the privacy of the patient who is in care, usage of photographs which is taken without consent and defamatory comments and information about colleagues and the workplace. Therefore, it is necessary to use social media carefully to avoid possible pitfall (Schofield., 2019). The other disadvantage of social media is that there is no reliability in the information that has been presented. There are issues with the quality as well. Review needs to be done for acquiring the relevant information. There is also risk involved in disclosing one's information on social media platform as there are multiple risks which the user or healthcare professional is not aware of. Sometimes, the information or advice which is provided via social media is harmful or incorrect. Plus, internet-based platforms are filled with loads of pieces of information. Even though an ample amount of information is present but the correct method to apply is not known with surety.
Some technologies of social media can also affect and bring changes in the behaviour of the individual. Using too much of social media can cause severe complications related to health. Patients can also show health behaviour which is negative due to response to social media. It also acts as a restrain to visit healthcare professionals. Therefore, it is important to how the risk associated with social media can be minimized (Roland., 2018 ). Lack of knowledge about social media by healthcare professionals is considered dangerous by the senior members of the management. Use of smartphones in healthcare facilities can also cause various problems like increase in the risks associated with the safety of the patient, transmission of the infections and storage of data. It also has cost implications.
It has also been seen, from the past few years, nurses are making inappropriate comments on social media and are posting photos of themselves which are inappropriate (Ferguson, 2013). One of the risks of using social media is its addictions. Patients who use social platforms in excess often give the valuable time of theirs which they could spend by doing some other tasks (Smailhodzic et al., 2016). For limiting the bad use of social media, institutions should formulate some policies and guidelines which will govern proper usage of it. Students should also be educated by members of the faculty to consider within the standards of privacy and conduct (Peck., 2014). Therefore, the two major limitations could be a breach of privacy of the patient and being presented by wrong information.
Chau, J. Y., McGill, B., Thomas, M. M., Carroll, T. E., Bellew, W., Bauman, A., & Grunseit, A. C. (2018). Is this health campaign really social marketing? A checklist to help you decide. Health Promotion Journal of Australia : Official Journal of Australian Association of Health Promotion Professionals, 29(1), 79–83. https://doi.org/10.1002/hpja.13
Ferguson, C. (2013). It's time for the nursing profession to leverage social media. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 69(4), 745-747. https://doi.org/10.1111/jan.12036
Hao, J. & Gao, B. (2017). Advantages and disadvantages for nurses of using social media. Journal of Primary Health Care and General Practice, 1(1).
Henning, M. A., Hawken, S., MacDonald, J., McKimm, J., Brown, M., Moriarty, H., Gasquoine, S., Chan, K., Hilder, J., & Wilkinson, T. (2017). Exploring educational interventions to facilitate health professional students' professionally safe online presence. Medical Teacher, 39(9), 959–966. https://doi.org/10.1080/0142159X.2017.1332363
Morley, L., & Cashell, A. (2017). Collaboration in health care. Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences, 48(2), 207–216. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmir.2017.02.071
Peck J. L. (2014). Social media in nursing education: Responsible integration for meaningful use. The Journal of Nursing Education, 53(3), 164–169. https://doi.org/10.3928/01484834-20140219-03
Roland D. (2018). Social media, health policy, and knowledge translation. Journal of the American College of Radiology : JACR, 15(1 Pt B), 149–152. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacr.2017.09.009
Schofield, A.. (2019). What role does social media currently play in wound care? Wounds UK, 15(3).
Smailhodzic, E., Hooijsma, W., Boonstra, A & Langley, D. J.(2016). Social media use in healthcare: A systematic review of effects on patients and on their relationship with healthcare professionals. BMC Health Services Research 16, 442 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-016-1691-0
Ventola C. L. (2014). Social media and health care professionals: benefits, risks, and best practices. P & T : A Peer-Reviewed Journal for Formulary Management, 39(7), 491–520.
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