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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 116-120

Social media in healthcare: Advantages and challenges perceived by patients at a teaching hospital in eastern province, Saudi Arabia


1 Department of Public Health, College of Public Health, Imam AbdulRahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Health Information Management and Technology, College of Public Health, Imam AbdulRahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mona Faisal Al-Qahtani
Department of Public Health, College of Public Health, Imam AbdulRahman Bin Faisal University, P. O. Box 2435 Dammam 31441
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/sjhs.sjhs_36_18

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Aims: This study aimed to determine the types of, the frequency of, and reasons for social media usage by patients. In addition, this study attempts to explore patients' perceptions of the advantages and main challenges associated with using social media in healthcare. Subjects and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study. Questionnaires were distributed to a convenience sample of 400 patients at a teaching hospital in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. The data were analyzed by performing descriptive and inferential statistics. Results: Of the 400 patients, 377 patients used social media. Females were more frequent users (60.7%) of social media than males (39.3%). Young patients were more frequent users of social media than older patients. Most patients used social media daily. The patients reported that the main purpose of their usage of social media was to care for their own health. The main advantage was to enable patients to learn about the symptoms of their illness and the method of treatment. A small percentage of patients believed that using social media in healthcare might breach the confidentiality and security of their information, which was the main challenge associated with using social media in healthcare. Conclusion: Social media is revolutionizing healthcare delivery, and its benefits overcome its drawbacks.


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