The impact of social networks on health care

  • Theodore Kotsilieris
  • Antonia Pavlaki
  • Stella Christopoulou
  • Ioannis Anagnostopoulos
Review Article


Our work examines the risks and benefits stemming from the evolution of Social Network Services (SNSs) in the healthcare domain. More specifically, we study the impact of specific health-oriented social networks such as PatientsLikeMe. Social networks evolved to a ubiquitous part of daily life and WEB 2.0 paved the way for the internet to be used as a method of interactive communication and information immersion. Health SNSs have the strength to influence healthcare services delivery and information availability supported by emerging technologies which track, gather and quantify real-time medical data from patients. SNSs support publicly provided information to patients, offering them the power not only to educate themselves but take part in the decision-making process of their health. On the other hand, healthcare stakeholders have gained access to new information which can help to cut costs, progress research, and improve the healthcare system. However, apart from the unambiguous benefits of SNSs, several risks are identified such as patient confidentiality violation. By incorporating the volumes of data collected by websites like PatientsLikeMe and other WEB 2.0 applications, the patient–industry partnership could ensure better products at lesser costs. Web 3.0 is the next step toward a heath care eco-system which will evolve out of micro-contributions creating the most accurate representations of medicine for the stakeholders.


Health social networks Healthcare services Web 2.0 E-professionalism Knowledge sharing 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Business AdministrationTEI PeloponneseKalamataGreece
  2. 2.Department of Computer Science and Biomedical InformaticsUniversity of ThessalyLamiaGreece

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