Social media and health communication for seniors
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The number of Canadians aged 65 years and older continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. The current over-burdened healthcare system must identify and implement alternative mechanisms for delivering care to this increasingly medically complex cohort. Social media has been recognized as one mechanism through which patients can connect with their healthcare providers (HCP). Using separate personal and focus group interviews, this qualitative study sought to explore the ways in which seniors and HCP use social media as a means of communicating with each other. Results revealed that seniors perceived social media as not very desirable for communicating with their HCP, and that HCP were constrained by regulatory and financial systems. Each group held the belief that the risks of using social media outweighed the benefits. Continued efforts to use social media should be undertaken as one potential way to mitigate projected increases in future healthcare expenditures.
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