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Understanding and Predicting Social Media Use Among Community Health Center Patients: A Cross-Sectional Survey

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      BackgroundThe use of social media by health care organizations is growing and provides Web-based tools to connect patients, caregivers, and providers.ObjectiveThe aim was to determine the use and factors predicting the use of social media for health care–related purposes among medically underserved primary care patients.MethodsA cross-sectional survey was administered to 444 patients of a federally qualified community health center.ResultsCommunity health center patients preferred that their providers use email, cell phones for texting, and Facebook and cell phone apps for sharing health information. Significantly more Hispanic than white patients believed their providers should use Facebook (P=.001), YouTube (P=.01), and Twitter (P=.04) for sharing health information. Use and intentions to use social media for health-related purposes were significantly higher for those patients with higher subjective norm scores.ConclusionsUnderstanding use and factors predicting use can increase adoption and utilization of social media for health care–related purposes among underserved patients in community health centers.

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      Most cited references 50

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      Evidence of the health-promoting influence of primary care has been accumulating ever since researchers have been able to distinguish primary care from other aspects of the health services delivery system. This evidence shows that primary care helps prevent illness and death, regardless of whether the care is characterized by supply of primary care physicians, a relationship with a source of primary care, or the receipt of important features of primary care. The evidence also shows that primary care (in contrast to specialty care) is associated with a more equitable distribution of health in populations, a finding that holds in both cross-national and within-national studies. The means by which primary care improves health have been identified, thus suggesting ways to improve overall health and reduce differences in health across major population subgroups.
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        Medicine 2.0: Social Networking, Collaboration, Participation, Apomediation, and Openness

        In a very significant development for eHealth, a broad adoption of Web 2.0 technologies and approaches coincides with the more recent emergence of Personal Health Application Platforms and Personally Controlled Health Records such as Google Health, Microsoft HealthVault, and Dossia. “Medicine 2.0” applications, services, and tools are defined as Web-based services for health care consumers, caregivers, patients, health professionals, and biomedical researchers, that use Web 2.0 technologies and/or semantic web and virtual reality approaches to enable and facilitate specifically 1) social networking, 2) participation, 3) apomediation, 4) openness, and 5) collaboration, within and between these user groups. The Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) publishes a Medicine 2.0 theme issue and sponsors a conference on “How Social Networking and Web 2.0 changes Health, Health Care, Medicine, and Biomedical Research”, to stimulate and encourage research in these five areas.
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          The theory of planned behaviour: reactions and reflections.

           Icek Ajzen (2011)
          The seven articles in this issue, and the accompanying meta-analysis in Health Psychology Review [McEachan, R.R.C., Conner, M., Taylor, N., & Lawton, R.J. (2011). Prospective prediction of health-related behaviors with the theory of planned behavior: A meta-analysis. Health Psychology Review, 5, 97-144], illustrate the wide application of the theory of planned behaviour [Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50, 179-211] in the health domain. In this editorial, Ajzen reflects on some of the issues raised by the different authors. Among the topics addressed are the nature of intentions and the limits of predictive validity; rationality, affect and emotions; past behaviour and habit; the prototype/willingness model; and the role of such background factors as the big five personality traits and social comparison tendency.

            Author and article information

            1Department of Health Science College of Life Sciences Brigham Young University Provo, UTUnited States
            Author notes
            Corresponding Author: Carl L Hanson Carl_Hanson@
            , ORCID:
            J Med Internet Res
            J. Med. Internet Res
            Journal of Medical Internet Research
            JMIR Publications Inc. (Toronto, Canada )
            November 2014
            26 November 2014
            : 16
            : 11
            (Editor), (Reviewer), (Reviewer), (Reviewer),
            ©Carl L Hanson, Josh West, Rosemary Thackeray, Michael D Barnes, Jordan Downey. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (, 26.11.2014.

            This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

            Original Paper
            Original Paper


            medically underserved area, social media, community health centers


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