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26-29 May 2015
Europe/Berlin timezone
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Contribution Complete Research Paper

Fürstenberghaus - F103
22 - Digital Health Initiatives

Social Media Enabled Interactions in Healthcare: Towards a Typology


  • Albert BOONSTRA
  • David LANGLEY

Primary authors



Social media is increasingly used by healthcare users and providers to connect and communicate with each other. Such use is changing the interactions in healthcare and it is not clear what effects this may have for healthcare provision. Although it could be beneficial to both parties, it could also bring threats for healthcare providers and disrupt the healthcare system. Therefore, it is important to understand who interacts, about what and how these interactions can be categorized into a typology. In this way, we can attain a better grasp of the potential benefits and threats social media could have for healthcare providers and healthcare in general. We employ qualitative content analysis to six contrasting categories of social media and study interactions between healthcare users and with healthcare providers. We identify nine topics, propose six archetypical interactions on social media in the healthcare domain and propose how these archetypical interactions can be categorized in a typology. In this way, we answer a call for research within the information systems (IS) field in healthcare on who is using social media and in what ways. Thus, we provide a foundation for future research on the effects of social media in healthcare.