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Wednesday, July 29 • 15:16 - 16:45
"Social Media in Health: The Australian Paradigm"

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Authors: Dr. Chandana Unnithan and Paula Swatman

Social media is touted as an enabler for access to the ageing population, to those living in remote locations ; and to smartphone users. Australians are ardent users of social media and this would seem to offer an excellent opportunity to extend the reach of medical care in a very effective way.
The potential for both benefit and risk to public health offered by social media formed the basis for this investigation. We sought to identify how social media can be utilised by health professionals and health consumers, within existing regulatory frameworks, in Australia.

We have undertaken an exploratory investigation using content analysis on extant literature. Social media was studied from the perspective of health consumers, health professionals and regulatory frameworks. We also explored the linkages between policies and privacy law that impacts social media usage.

In this preliminary review, we identified a need for simplification of the existing regulatory frameworks, together with greater e-health literacy amongst consumers, before the power of social media tools can be leveraged safely to enhance the quality of public health in Australia.

Future Work: 
We propose to undertake in-depth investigation using qualitative methods: focus groups, case studies and application of Social Network Analysis (SNA) and Actor-Network theory (ANT) in this area. The continuing in-depth studies and results would be of benefit to other countries that envisage leveraging social media in public health practices.


Paula M.C. Swatman

Adjunct Professor of Information Systems, University of Tasmania
avatar for Dr. Chandana Unnithan

Dr. Chandana Unnithan

Faculty - Information Systems, Victoria University
I am a faculty member in the field of Information Systems Management with Victoria University, Australia (and also teach at Charles Darwin University). I teach IT Project management, Enterprise Business Applications, and Professional Practice. My current research focus is on social... Read More →

Wednesday July 29, 2015 15:16 - 16:45
(9th Floor) TRS 3-176 (Ted Rogers School of Management) 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C3

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