Consumer use of social media for health care and drug information: An exploratory study

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Objective: The study objective is to assess consumer use of various social media outlets for health care, health care information, and drug information and how it impacts understanding, decision making, and provider relationships. Methods: An exploratory study via an online survey questionnaire will be performed using Qualtrics online consumer panel. Respondents (aged 18 years or older and an equal mix of men and women) will be included if they actively maintain at least one social media or network account, such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. Constructs assessed in the study include trust in and attitudes toward the various outlets, benefits and risks of discussing health and drug information via social media, and likelihood of sharing health and drug information. In addition, the type of information sought and how the information gathered affects disease/medication understanding, consumer decision making, and the consumer- health care provider relationship will be assessed. Standard demographic data, in addition to health literacy levels, will be examined for differences among the constructs. A sample size of 600 consumers will be surveyed to achieve the desired power (0.80), at an a priori α = 0.05, assuming a medium effect size. The subsequent data will be analyzed using descriptive, analysis of variance, and χ2 techniques. Results: Based on limited previous research of consumers' general use and perception of social media, we expect consumers to identify benefits such as gathering information, sharing experiences, and engaging peers as well as risks such as privacy and quality of information. Additionally, social media/ network use should increase consumer understanding levels, aid in decision making, and positively impact the consumer- health care provider relationship. The results of this research can potentially demonstrate whether social media/ network use provides a positive impact on the social and behavioral factors of health care and aid in designing future interventions to see social media's direct impact on health outcomes.

Publication Title

Journal of the American Pharmacists Association





First Page



Conference abstract published in Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, Volume 55, Issue 2, Pages e257.

Presented at AphA2015, March 2015, San Diego, CA.

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