alexa The Social Media Effect: Examining Usage in Contentious Healthcare Cases | OMICS International | Abstract
ISSN: 2155-9627

Journal of Clinical Research & Bioethics
Open Access

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Review Article

The Social Media Effect: Examining Usage in Contentious Healthcare Cases

Cara Barbisian, Rebecca A Greenberg* and Randi Zlotnik Shaul

Bioethics Department, Hospital for Sick Children, Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

*Corresponding Author:
Rebecca A. Greenberg
Bioethics Department
The Hospital for Sick Children
555 University Avenue, Toronto
Ontario, Canada, M5G 1X8
Tel: 1-416-813-8841
Fax: 1-416-813-4967
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: May 23, 2013; Accepted date: July 01, 2013; Published date: July 08, 2013

Citation: Barbisian C, Greenberg RA, Shaul RZ (2013) The Social Media Effect: Examining Usage in Contentious Healthcare Cases. J Clin Res Bioeth 4:149. doi: 10.4172/2155-9627.1000149

Copyright: © 2013 Barbisian C, et al. 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 author and source are credited.


Background: In healthcare, social media is a powerful online communication tool used by patients, families and organisations to share perspectives and engage in dialogue. It has the ability to affect change and eliminate barriers in healthcare. However, it also has the ability to raise the profile of negative news and can compromise therapeutic relationships, public trust in organisations and call into question privacy issues.

Methods: A symposium was held to address ethical issues in contentious healthcare cases that involve social media. The symposium consisted of panelist presentations, full group discussion, and small audience breakout groups and a full group facilitated concluding discussion. Discussions were summarised and key themes abstracted.

Results: Three main discussion points arose: 1) what are the relevant distinctions in cases that become “viral”; 2) good practices for navigating contentious cases; and 3) considerations for managing cases in the social media domain. Improved literacy and clear definitions were recommended to help understand how different mediums influence the delivery and dissemination of messages. Support for staff and methods for dealing with the aftermath of cases involving social media were examined.

Conclusion: This forum promoted understanding of the evolving issues and role of social media in contentious cases. Improved engagement with patients must be realised to understand these cases and stymie their development when possible. Organizations need to consider which policies need to be updated or created to deal with new scenarios. More conversations on the topic would create improvements in the area of contentious cases in social media.


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