A social media network can offer an individual education, motivation and support. According to a new report from the eHealth Initiative, it can also help individuals with chronic diseases achieve personal goals, correct high-risk behavior and better manage their conditions, thereby reducing the burden of chronic disease on the healthcare system. However, several challenges must first be addressed. These include:
- Balancing transparency and anonymity;
- Concerns about privacy and HIPAA compliance;
- The digital divide among elderly and minority populations; and
- Authenticity of online information since content is typically user-generated
Benefits include improved access to health information and providing a new tool for communication among caregivers and family members to discuss shared experiences. The full report is available here.