Special Issue "Social Media and Public Health: Opportunities and Challenges"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Communication".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Wasim Ahmed
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Marketing, Operations and Systems, Newcastle Univeristy Business School, NE1 7RU, UK
Interests: public health and health informatics
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Josep Vidal-Alaball
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institut Català de la Salut / University of Vic–Central University of Catalonia, Spain
Interests: social media; public health; telemedicine
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organising a Special Issue on the use of social media within public health in the journal International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. This journal is scientific and peer-reviewed, and publishes articles and communications in the interdisciplinary area of environmental health sciences and public health. For detailed information on the journal, we refer you to https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph.

We are living in an information age, with more user-generated data being generated today than ever before with the widespread popularity of social media. Social media platforms provide the ability to extract intelligence for public health purposes. This can range from using social media to track the spread of diseases to the opinion mining of public views and opinions.

Social media has the potential to provide rapid insights into unfolding public health emergencies such as infectious disease outbreaks. They can also be drawn upon for rapid, survey-based insights into various health topics. Social media has also begun to be utilised by medical professionals for the purposes of sharing scholarly works, international collaboration, and engaging in policy debates.

A benefit of social media platforms for gaining insight into health is that they have the ability to capture unfiltered public opinion in large volumes, avoiding potential biases introduced by surveys or interviews. Social media platforms can also be utilised to pilot surveys, for instance, though the use of Twitter polls.

Social media data have also been drawn upon in medical emergencies and crisis situations as a public health surveillance tool. A number of software and online tools also exist that have been developed specifically to aide public health research utilising social media data. In recent years, ethical issues of retrieving and analysing data have also arisen.

Henceforth, we invite researchers who are working in the broad areas of social media and health to submit their research on these issues for publication in this Special Issue.

This Special Issue is open to any submission related to social media and public health, and the keywords provide some examples of various possibilities.

Dr. Wasim Ahmed
Dr. Josep Vidal-Alaball
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Social media
  • Public health
  • Disease surveillance
  • Health promotion
  • E-health
  • Telehealth
  • Ethics
  • Health informatics

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
A Social Network Analysis of Tweets Related to Masks during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 8235; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218235 - 07 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1697
Abstract
Background: High compliance in wearing a mask is a crucial factor for stopping the transmission of COVID-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, social media has been a key communication channel for citizens. This study focused on analyzing content from Twitter related to [...] Read more.
Background: High compliance in wearing a mask is a crucial factor for stopping the transmission of COVID-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, social media has been a key communication channel for citizens. This study focused on analyzing content from Twitter related to masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: Twitter data were collected using the keyword “mask” from 27 June 2020 to 4 July 2020. The total number of tweets gathered were n = 452,430. A systematic random sample of 1% (n = 4525) of tweets was analyzed using social network analysis. NodeXL (Social Media Research Foundation, California, CA, USA) was used to identify users ranked influential by betweenness centrality and was used to identify key hashtags and content. Results: The overall shape of the network resembled a community network because there was a range of users conversing amongst each other in different clusters. It was found that a range of accounts were influential and/or mentioned within the network. These ranged from ordinary citizens, politicians, and popular culture figures. The most common theme and popular hashtags to emerge from the data encouraged the public to wear masks. Conclusion: Towards the end of June 2020, Twitter was utilized by the public to encourage others to wear masks and discussions around masks included a wide range of users. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Public Health: Opportunities and Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
Public Voice via Social Media: Role in Cooperative Governance during Public Health Emergency
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6840; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186840 - 18 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1112
Abstract
With the development of the Internet, social networking sites have empowered the public to directly express their views about social issues and hence contribute to social change. As a new type of voice behavior, public voice on social media has aroused wide concern [...] Read more.
With the development of the Internet, social networking sites have empowered the public to directly express their views about social issues and hence contribute to social change. As a new type of voice behavior, public voice on social media has aroused wide concern among scholars. However, why public voice is expressed and how it influences social development and betterment in times of public health emergencies remains unstudied. A key point is whether governments can take effective countermeasures when faced with public health emergencies. In such situation, public voice is of great significance in the formulation and implementation of coping policies. This qualitive study uses China’s Health Code policy under COVID-19 to explore why the public performs voice behavior on social media and how this influences policy evolution and product innovation through cooperative governance. A stimulus-cognition-emotion-behavior model is established to explain public voice, indicating that it is influenced by cognitive processes and public emotions under policy stimulus. What is more, as a form of public participation in cooperative governance, public voice plays a significant role in promoting policy evolution and product innovation, and represents a useful form of cooperation with governments and enterprises to jointly maintain social stability under public health emergencies Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Public Health: Opportunities and Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
Topic Modeling for Analyzing Patients’ Perceptions and Concerns of Hearing Loss on Social Q&A Sites: Incorporating Patients’ Perspective
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6209; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176209 - 27 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 705
Abstract
Hearing loss is the most common human sensory deficit, affecting normal communication. Recently, patients with hearing loss or at risk of hearing loss are increasingly turning to the online health community for health information and support. Information on health-related topics exchanged on the [...] Read more.
Hearing loss is the most common human sensory deficit, affecting normal communication. Recently, patients with hearing loss or at risk of hearing loss are increasingly turning to the online health community for health information and support. Information on health-related topics exchanged on the Internet is a useful resource to examine patients’ informational needs. The ability to understand the patients’ perspectives on hearing loss is critical for health professionals to develop a patient-centered intervention. In this paper, we apply Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) on electronic patient-authored questions on social question-and-answer (Q&A) sites to identify patients’ perceptions, concerns, and needs on hearing loss. Our results reveal 21 topics, which are both representative and meaningful, and mostly correspond to sub-fields established in hearing science research. The latent topics are classified into five themes, which include “sudden hearing loss”, “tinnitus”, “noise-induced hearing loss”, “hearing aids”, “dizziness”, “curiosity about hearing loss”, “otitis media” and “complications of disease”. Our topic analysis of patients’ questions on the topic of hearing loss allows achieving a thorough understanding of patients’ perspectives, thereby leading to better development of the patient-centered intervention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Public Health: Opportunities and Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
An Online Training Intervention on Prehospital Stroke Codes in Catalonia to Improve the Knowledge, Pre-Notification Compliance and Time Performance of Emergency Medical Services Professionals
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6183; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176183 - 26 Aug 2020
Viewed by 1368
Abstract
Strokes are a time-dependent medical emergency. The training of emergency medical service (EMS) professionals is essential to ensure the activation of stroke codes with pre-notification, as well as a rapid transfer to achieve early therapy. New assessment scales for the detection of patients [...] Read more.
Strokes are a time-dependent medical emergency. The training of emergency medical service (EMS) professionals is essential to ensure the activation of stroke codes with pre-notification, as well as a rapid transfer to achieve early therapy. New assessment scales for the detection of patients with suspected large vessel occlusion ensures earlier access to endovascular therapy. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact on an online training intervention focused on the Rapid Arterial oCclusion Evaluation (RACE) scoring of EMS professionals based on the prehospital stroke code in Catalonia from 2014 to 2018 in a pre–post intervention study. All Catalonian EMS professionals and the clinical records from primary stroke patients were included. The Kirkpatrick model guided the evaluation of the intervention. Data were collected on the knowledge on stroke recognition and management, pre-notification compliance, activated stroke codes and time performance of EMS professionals. Knowledge improved significatively in most items and across all categories, reaching a global achievement of 82%. Pre-notification compliance also improved significantly and remained high in the long-term. Increasingly higher notification of RACE scores were recorded from 60% at baseline to 96.3% in 2018, and increased on-site clinical care time and global time were also observed. Therefore, the online training intervention was effective for increasing EMS professionals’ knowledge and pre-notification compliance upon stroke code activation, and the wide adoption of a new prehospital scale for the assessment of stroke severity (i.e., the RACE scale) was achieved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Public Health: Opportunities and Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Online Media on Parents’ Attitudes toward Vaccination of Children—Social Marketing and Public Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5816; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165816 - 11 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1423
Abstract
The aim of this paper was to investigate the level of influence of online media on the parents’ attitudes toward vaccination of children in three countries of the Western Balkans—Montenegro, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, in order to use the potentials of this [...] Read more.
The aim of this paper was to investigate the level of influence of online media on the parents’ attitudes toward vaccination of children in three countries of the Western Balkans—Montenegro, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, in order to use the potentials of this form of communication effectively and efficiently. Online media are a critical factor of influence on the formation of attitudes in many areas of modern society, which is why their proper use plays an important role in strengthening vaccine confidence and which may further contribute to improvement of public health. On the other side, having in mind the fact that communication is an integral part of marketing, it is clear that social marketing has an extremely important role regarding the analyzed topic, especially because of the fact that social marketing activities tend to change or maintain people’s behavior for the benefit of individuals and society as a whole. For the purpose of this research, a conceptual model was developed. Quantitative research was conducted online in the first quarter of 2020 using the survey method. Statistical analysis was applied to data collected from 1593 parents in the analyzed countries. The relevance of the hypotheses was tested using standard statistical tests, ANOVA test, eta coefficient, and logistic regression. The research showed that all analyzed variables from the model have a significant impact on the parents’ attitudes toward the vaccination of children and that they correlate with the degree of trust in vaccines. The results also approved that online media have a significant influence on the formation of parents’ attitudes toward the vaccination of children (obtained values of eta coefficient η2 = 0.216, η2 = 0.18, η2 = 0.167, η2 = 0.090, reliability Cronbach’s Alpha 0.892), which confirms the importance of the use of social marketing in order to direct communication properly and to strengthen the level of trust in vaccines. Additionally, the results of logistic regression showed that the following groups of parents are particularly vulnerable to the influence of online media on attitudes toward vaccines: women, parents of younger age (“millennials”), and parents who are in common law marriage, as well as parents who have more children. In addition, the results showed that there is no statistically significant difference in the attitudes of parents in the observed countries (η2 = 0.000, F = 0.85). Based on the results of the research, the authors suggest that decision makers should pay more attention to modern forms of online communication and social marketing in order to use their potential for improvement of public health, as well as avoid the harmful impact that certain forms of communication may have on the formation of attitudes and loss of confidence in vaccines. The findings provide an important contribution for public health policy makers to identify and understand properly the impact of online media and social marketing and thus to better adapt their initiatives to changes in modern society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Public Health: Opportunities and Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
Topic Modeling and User Network Analysis on Twitter during World Lupus Awareness Day
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5440; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155440 - 28 Jul 2020
Viewed by 1174
Abstract
Twitter is increasingly used by individuals and organizations to broadcast their feelings and practices, providing access to samples of spontaneously expressed opinions on all sorts of themes. Social media offers an additional source of data to unlock information supporting new insights disclosures, particularly [...] Read more.
Twitter is increasingly used by individuals and organizations to broadcast their feelings and practices, providing access to samples of spontaneously expressed opinions on all sorts of themes. Social media offers an additional source of data to unlock information supporting new insights disclosures, particularly for public health purposes. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex, systemic autoimmune disease that remains a major challenge in therapeutic diagnostic and treatment management. When supporting patients with such a complex disease, sharing information through social media can play an important role in creating better healthcare services. This study explores the nature of topics posted by users and organizations on Twitter during world Lupus day to extract latent topics that occur in tweet texts and to identify what information is most commonly discussed among users. We identified online influencers and opinion leaders who discussed different topics. During this analysis, we found two different types of influencers that employed different narratives about the communities they belong to. Therefore, this study identifies hidden information for healthcare decision-makers and provides a detailed model of the implications for healthcare organizations to detect, understand, and define hidden content behind large collections of text. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Public Health: Opportunities and Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Social Media on the Communication Professionals in Public Health. Spanish Official Medical Colleges Case Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(13), 4859; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17134859 - 06 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1099
Abstract
The purpose of the study is to analyze the role that social media have on the practice of health professionals working in information and communication department of Spanish official medical college. Social media in health fields have experienced growing participation of users and [...] Read more.
The purpose of the study is to analyze the role that social media have on the practice of health professionals working in information and communication department of Spanish official medical college. Social media in health fields have experienced growing participation of users and are increasingly considered a credible form of communication. This paper examines the use of social media as communication tool by the Official Medical Colleges (OMC) of Spain. According to the National Institute of Statistics, in 2019 there were 267,995 registered medical professionals in the 52 OMC in Spain. This research is based on a qualitative methodological technique through semi-structured interviews, with the aim of identifying the profiles of the people who lead the information in the professional organizations of the OMC. Of the colleges, 73.07% participated. The findings show that information is essential for the OMC and most of them have at least one experienced communication professional. Social media are essential tool in their work and Twitter (87.5%) and Facebook (81.3%) are considered the most relevant social media according to their interests. These tools are believed to be very useful for informing, establishing relationships and listening to users. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Public Health: Opportunities and Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
Primary Care Professionals’ Acceptance of Medical Record-Based, Store and Forward Provider-to-Provider Telemedicine in Catalonia: Results of a Web-Based Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 4092; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114092 - 08 Jun 2020
Viewed by 1204
Abstract
While telemedicine services enjoy a high acceptance among the public, evidence regarding clinician’s acceptance, a key factor for sustainable telemedicine services, is mixed. However, telemedicine is generally better accepted by both patients and professionals who live in rural areas, as it can save [...] Read more.
While telemedicine services enjoy a high acceptance among the public, evidence regarding clinician’s acceptance, a key factor for sustainable telemedicine services, is mixed. However, telemedicine is generally better accepted by both patients and professionals who live in rural areas, as it can save them significant time. The objective of this study is to assess the acceptance of medical record-based, store and forward provider-to-provider telemedicine among primary care professionals and to describe the factors which may determine their future use. This is an observational cross-sectional study using the Catalan version of the Health Optimum questionnaire; a technology acceptance model-based validated survey comprised of eight short questions. The online, voluntary response poll was sent to all 661 primary care professionals in 17 primary care teams that had potentially used the telemedicine services of the main primary care provider in Catalonia, in the Central Catalan Region. The majority of respondents rated the quality of telemedicine consultations as “Excellent” or “Good” (83%). However, nearly 60% stated that they sometimes had technical, organizational or other difficulties, which might affect the quality of care delivered. These negatively predicted their declared future use (p = 0.001). The quality of telemedicine services is perceived as good overall for all the parameters studied, especially among nurses. It is important that policymakers examine and provide solutions for the technical and organizational difficulties detected (e.g., by providing training), in order to ensure the use of these services in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Public Health: Opportunities and Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
Environmental and Patient Impact of Applying a Point-of-Care Ultrasound Model in Primary Care: Rural vs. Urban Centres
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3333; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093333 - 11 May 2020
Viewed by 975
Abstract
Motor vehicles are a major contributor to air pollution, and the exposure to this human-caused air pollution can lead to harmful health effects. This study evaluates the impact of the provision of point-of-care ultrasounds (POCUS) by primary care (PC) to avoid the patient’s [...] Read more.
Motor vehicles are a major contributor to air pollution, and the exposure to this human-caused air pollution can lead to harmful health effects. This study evaluates the impact of the provision of point-of-care ultrasounds (POCUS) by primary care (PC) to avoid the patient’s need to travel to a specialized service. The study estimates the costs and air pollution avoided during 2019. The results confirm that performing this ultrasound at the point of care reduces the emission of 61.4 gr of carbon monoxide, 14.8 gr of nitric oxide and 2.7 gr of sulfur dioxide on each trip. During the study, an average of 17.8 km, 21.4 min per trip and almost 2000 L of fuel consumed in a year were avoided. Performing POCUS from PC reduces fuel consumption and the emission of air pollutants and also saves time and money. Furthermore, only 0.3% of the scans had to be repeated by radiologists. However, more studies with more participants need to be done to calculate the exact impact that these pollution reductions will have on human health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Public Health: Opportunities and Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
The Antecedents of Poor Doctor-Patient Relationship in Mobile Consultation: A Perspective from Computer-Mediated Communication
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2579; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072579 - 09 Apr 2020
Viewed by 1235
Abstract
This study aims to understand the underlying reasons for poor doctor-patient relationships (DPR). While extant studies on antecedents of poor DPR mainly focus on the offline context and often adopt the patients’ perspective, this work focuses on the mobile context and take both [...] Read more.
This study aims to understand the underlying reasons for poor doctor-patient relationships (DPR). While extant studies on antecedents of poor DPR mainly focus on the offline context and often adopt the patients’ perspective, this work focuses on the mobile context and take both doctors’ and mobile consultation users’ perspectives into consideration. To fulfill this purpose, we first construct a theoretical framework based on the Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) literature. Then we coded 592 doctor-user communication records to validate and elaborate the proposed theoretical model. This work reveals that characteristics of mobile technologies pose potential challenges on both doctors’ and patients’ information providing, informative interpreting, and relationship maintaining behaviors, resulting in 10 and 6 types of inappropriate behaviors of doctors and users, respectively, that trigger poor DPR in the mobile context. The findings enrich the research on online DPR and provide insights for improving DPR in the mobile context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Public Health: Opportunities and Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
Contextualising the 2019 E-Cigarette Health Scare: Insights from Twitter
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2236; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072236 - 26 Mar 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2139
Abstract
A health scare can be described as a campaign that attempts to alert the public of a particular substance or activity that can lead to a negative effect on health. A recent health scare to emerge relates to the health hazards associated with [...] Read more.
A health scare can be described as a campaign that attempts to alert the public of a particular substance or activity that can lead to a negative effect on health. A recent health scare to emerge relates to the health hazards associated with the use of e-cigarettes, which has caused widespread debate, which peaked towards the end of 2019. Health scares need to be studied in the context in which they occur, and one method of studying them is through social media. This paper identifies two key topics of discussion on Twitter, which consisted of pro-vaping and anti-vaping views. The paper then identifies influential users, frequently occurring words, hashtags, and websites related to this time period in order to gain insight into e-cigarette perceptions. The paper then reviews current scientific evidence and develops a flowchart for the general public, which can be used to for public reassurance and guidance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Public Health: Opportunities and Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
Validation of a Short Questionnaire to Assess Healthcare Professionals’ Perceptions of Asynchronous Telemedicine Services: The Catalan Version of the Health Optimum Telemedicine Acceptance Questionnaire
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2202; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072202 - 25 Mar 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1920
Abstract
Telemedicine is both effective and able to provide efficient care at a lower cost. It also enjoys a high degree of acceptance among users. The Technology Acceptance Model proposed is based on the two main concepts of ease of use and perceived usefulness [...] Read more.
Telemedicine is both effective and able to provide efficient care at a lower cost. It also enjoys a high degree of acceptance among users. The Technology Acceptance Model proposed is based on the two main concepts of ease of use and perceived usefulness and is comprised of three dimensions: the individual context, the technological context and the implementation or organizational context. At present, no short, validated questionnaire exists in Catalonia to evaluate the acceptance of telemedicine services amongst healthcare professionals using a technology acceptance model. This article aims to statistically validate the Catalan version of the EU project Health Optimum telemedicine acceptance questionnaire. The study included the following phases: adaptation and translation of the questionnaire into Catalan and psychometric validation with construct (exploratory factor analysis), consistency (Cronbach’s alpha) and stability (test–retest) analysis. After deleting incomplete responses, calculations were made using 33 participants. The internal consistency measured with the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was good with an alpha coefficient of 0.84 (95%, CI: 0.79–0.84). The intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.93 (95% CI: 0.852–0.964). The Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin test of sampling showed to be adequate (KMO = 0.818) and the Bartlett test of sphericity was significant (Chi-square 424.188; gl = 28; p < 0.001). The questionnaire had two dimensions which accounted for 61.2% of the total variance: quality and technical difficulties relating to telemedicine. The findings of this study suggest that the validated questionnaire has robust statistical features that make it a good predictive model of healthcare professional’s satisfaction with telemedicine programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Public Health: Opportunities and Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
A Cost-Minimization Analysis of a Medical Record-based, Store and Forward and Provider-to-provider Telemedicine Compared to Usual Care in Catalonia: More Agile and Efficient, Especially for Users
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 2008; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17062008 - 18 Mar 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2054
Abstract
Background: Telemedicine (interconsultation between primary and hospital care teams) has been operating in the counties of Central Catalonia Bages, Moianès and Berguedà since 2011, specializing in teledermatology, teleulcers, teleophthalmology and teleaudiometries. For the period until the end of 2019, a total of 52,198 [...] Read more.
Background: Telemedicine (interconsultation between primary and hospital care teams) has been operating in the counties of Central Catalonia Bages, Moianès and Berguedà since 2011, specializing in teledermatology, teleulcers, teleophthalmology and teleaudiometries. For the period until the end of 2019, a total of 52,198 visits were recorded. Objective: To analyze the differential costs between telemedicine and usual care in a semi-urban environment. Methodology: A cost-minimization evaluation, including direct and indirect costs from a societal perspective, distinguishing healthcare and user’s costs, was carried out over a three-month period. Results: Telemedicine saved € 780,397 over the period analyzed. A differential cost favorable to telemedicine of about € 15 per visit was observed, with the patient being the largest beneficiary of this saving (by 85%) in terms of shorter waiting times and travel costs. From the healthcare system perspective, moving the time spent in a hospital care consultation to primary care is efficient in terms of the total time devoted per patient. In social terms and in this context, telemedicine is more efficient than usual care. Conclusion: Allowing users to save time in terms of consultation and travel is the main driver of interconsultation between primary and hospital care savings in a semi-urban context. The telemedicine service is also economically favorable for the healthcare system, enabling it to provide a more agile service, which also benefits healthcare professionals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Public Health: Opportunities and Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
Health Advertising on Short-Video Social Media: A Study on User Attitudes Based on the Extended Technology Acceptance Model
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(5), 1501; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051501 - 26 Feb 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1501
Abstract
The rapid development of short-video social network platforms provides us with an opportunity to conduct health-related advertising and recommendation. However, so far, there are no empirical evidence on whether users are willing to accept health-related short-video advertisements. Here, acceptance refers to purchase intention, [...] Read more.
The rapid development of short-video social network platforms provides us with an opportunity to conduct health-related advertising and recommendation. However, so far, there are no empirical evidence on whether users are willing to accept health-related short-video advertisements. Here, acceptance refers to purchase intention, meaning that users will read short-video ads, share ads with others, or even open the product link embedded in ads to purchase the product. In this paper, we make the first attempt to model and quantify user acceptance of health-related short-video advertisements. Particularly, we propose a new research model that enhances the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) with two new designs. First, we propose four new antecedents including social interaction, intrusiveness, informativeness, and relevance into the original TAM to reflect the features of short-video social networks. Second, we introduce two mediator variables including perceived usefulness and attitude so that we can better study how different factors affect user acceptance of health-related short-video ads. We perform a survey on the Internet and conduct an empirical analysis of the surveyed data. The results show that the four antecedents as well as the perceived ease of use have significant influences on perceived usefulness, attitude, and purchase intention. Further, perceived usefulness plays a valid mediating role in attitude and purchase intention. We also found that users’ perceived ease of use on health-related short-video ads cannot significantly predict users’ attitudes toward ads. This is a new finding in social media-oriented ads. Finally, we integrate the empirical findings and present reasonable suggestions for advertisers and marketers to promote health-related short-video ads. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Public Health: Opportunities and Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
Teleconsultations between Patients and Healthcare Professionals in Primary Care in Catalonia: The Evaluation of Text Classification Algorithms Using Supervised Machine Learning
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 1093; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17031093 - 09 Feb 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2093
Abstract
Background: The primary care service in Catalonia has operated an asynchronous teleconsulting service between GPs and patients since 2015 (eConsulta), which has generated some 500,000 messages. New developments in big data analysis tools, particularly those involving natural language, can be used to [...] Read more.
Background: The primary care service in Catalonia has operated an asynchronous teleconsulting service between GPs and patients since 2015 (eConsulta), which has generated some 500,000 messages. New developments in big data analysis tools, particularly those involving natural language, can be used to accurately and systematically evaluate the impact of the service. Objective: The study was intended to assess the predictive potential of eConsulta messages through different combinations of vector representation of text and machine learning algorithms and to evaluate their performance. Methodology: Twenty machine learning algorithms (based on five types of algorithms and four text representation techniques) were trained using a sample of 3559 messages (169,102 words) corresponding to 2268 teleconsultations (1.57 messages per teleconsultation) in order to predict the three variables of interest (avoiding the need for a face-to-face visit, increased demand and type of use of the teleconsultation). The performance of the various combinations was measured in terms of precision, sensitivity, F-value and the ROC curve. Results: The best-trained algorithms are generally effective, proving themselves to be more robust when approximating the two binary variables “avoiding the need of a face-to-face visit” and “increased demand” (precision = 0.98 and 0.97, respectively) rather than the variable “type of query” (precision = 0.48). Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to investigate a machine learning strategy for text classification using primary care teleconsultation datasets. The study illustrates the possible capacities of text analysis using artificial intelligence. The development of a robust text classification tool could be feasible by validating it with more data, making it potentially more useful for decision support for health professionals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Public Health: Opportunities and Challenges)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Impact of a Telemedicine Program on the Reduction in the Emission of Atmospheric Pollutants and Journeys by Road
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4366; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224366 - 08 Nov 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2453
Abstract
This retrospective study evaluates the effect of a telemedicine program developed in the central Catalan region in lowering the environmental footprint by reducing the emission of atmospheric pollutants, thanks to a reduction in the number of hospital visits involving journeys by road. Between [...] Read more.
This retrospective study evaluates the effect of a telemedicine program developed in the central Catalan region in lowering the environmental footprint by reducing the emission of atmospheric pollutants, thanks to a reduction in the number of hospital visits involving journeys by road. Between January 2018 and June 2019, a total of 12,322 referrals were made to telemedicine services in the primary care centers, avoiding a total of 9034 face-to-face visits. In total, the distance saved was 192,682 km, with a total travel time saving of 3779 h and a total fuel reduction of 11,754 L with an associated cost of €15,664. This represents an average reduction of 3248.3 g of carbon dioxide, 4.05 g of carbon monoxide, 4.86 g of nitric oxide and 3.2 g of sulphur dioxide. This study confirms that telemedicine reduces the environmental impact of atmospheric pollutants emitted by vehicles by reducing the number of journeys made for face-to-face visits, and thus contributing to environmental sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Public Health: Opportunities and Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
Social Media, Thin-Ideal, Body Dissatisfaction and Disordered Eating Attitudes: An Exploratory Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(21), 4177; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16214177 - 29 Oct 2019
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 9295
Abstract
Disordered eating attitudes are rapidly increasing, especially among young women in their twenties. These disordered behaviours result from the interaction of several factors, including beauty ideals. A significant factor is social media, by which the unrealistic beauty ideals are popularized and may lead [...] Read more.
Disordered eating attitudes are rapidly increasing, especially among young women in their twenties. These disordered behaviours result from the interaction of several factors, including beauty ideals. A significant factor is social media, by which the unrealistic beauty ideals are popularized and may lead to these behaviours. The objectives of this study were, first, to determine the relationship between disordered eating behaviours among female university students and sociocultural factors, such as the use of social network sites, beauty ideals, body satisfaction, body image and the body image desired to achieve and, second, to determine whether there is a sensitive relationship between disordered eating attitudes, addiction to social networks, and testosterone levels as a biological factor. The data (N = 168) was obtained using validated surveys (EAT-26, BSQ, CIPE-a, SNSA) and indirect measures of prenatal testosterone. The data was analysed using chi-square, Student’s t-test, correlation tests and logistic regression tests. The results showed that disordered eating attitudes were linked to self-esteem (p < 0.001), body image (p < 0.001), body desired to achieve (p < 0.001), the use of social media (p < 0.001) and prenatal testosterone (p < 0.01). The findings presented in this study suggest a relationship between body image, body concerns, body dissatisfaction, and disordered eating attitudes among college women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Public Health: Opportunities and Challenges)
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