Social media and other social networks are fast becoming a large influence on the public’s health. It is a great resource because it has a plethora of tools, health information, and support. While physical space is decreasing for support groups, more and more are cropping up online each day and patients are turning to their social networks to research doctors, treatment options, and get general health information. Below are 5 ways social media can help improve the state of health.
1. Social media helps us stick to goals and track our progress
Social media fosters a healthy bit of competition between friends. When we post about our health or fitness goals, we are also pressured to keep up with goals. Posting about our health and fitness goals not only serves as a reminder, but can also provide us with support and encouragement.
2. Social media improves our quality of care
Social media allows the doctor-patient relationship to be extended beyond the examining room. Doctors and patients can stay connected and in conversation even after the appointment is over and patients are seeing an immediate improvement to their level of care.
3. Social media helps us cope with chronic conditions
Having 24-hour access to an online support community helps us deal with chronic conditions. Through this community, people are able to share concerns, get answers to questions, and receive advice, support one another, and provide inspiration. Just knowing that we don’t have to go through something alone is a huge help when dealing with a chronic condition.
4. Social media facilitates exchange of health knowledge and medical experience
Much the same as having an online support community or extending the conversation between the doctor and patient, social media allows for constant sharing of information and experience. There are numerous forms where doctors answer general health questions, or post breaking medical news and share their opinions on its impact. Additionally, patients are able to post about what it’s like to go through certain treatment options, how to stay motivated, or share recipes that are relevant to specific conditions such as diabetes or celiac.
5. Social media fosters communication
This is especially important for people who are unable to participate in face-to-face communication, either because there is no physical support group in their community or if they have limited mobility due to their condition. Being able to communication via online social networks not only bridges geographical distance, but also empowers patients to take better care and manage their condition efficiently. Additionally, patients with chronic conditions become more knowledgeable about their condition, feel more socially integrated and supported, and experience improved behavioral and clinical outcomes.