This study investigates how differences in the use of online health information and social media affect the use of online health services. We attempt to predict the extent to which the use of social media and online health information prompt individuals to use online health services. We draw upon a combination of sociology and communication studies and integrate relational maintenance assumptions regarding the quality of online social relationships to promote the importance of health empowerment factors-socio-demographic characteristics, internet attitudes and health status models to predict the likelihood of using online health services. The study's sample consists of 1406 individuals using the Internet, including 633 individuals using the Internet and social media to look for health information. The study's results provide evidence that (a) online health information empowers most of the examined individuals to use online health services; (b) among all social media only those that offer consulting have a significant effect on the likelihood of using online health services. The implications of these findings support that a conceptual integration of CMC and social media use theories along with health empowerment assumptions, is a promising theoretical framework to test the effectiveness of social media use in prompting use of online health services. The practical applications for health management are highlighted as well. Finding practical and affordable ways to support the use of social media and encourage access to online health information and use of online health services could improve health literacy and self-management of health at the individual level and increase the efficiency in the provision of health services at the institutional level.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The research Project was funded with a Grant from Maccabi Health Services in 2010.
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Health empowerment
- Online health information
- Online health services
- Social media
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Psychology (all)