Download the full-sized PDF of Social media use among patients and caregivers: A scoping review.Download the full-sized PDF



Permanent link (DOI):


Export to: EndNote  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley


This file is in the following communities:

Nursing, Faculty of
Pediatrics, Department of


This file is in the following collections:

Health Systems
Alberta Research Centre for Health Evidence (ARCHE)

Social media use among patients and caregivers: A scoping review. Open Access


Author or creator
Hamm, M. P.
Chisholm, A.
Shulhan, J.
Milne, A.
Scott, S. D.
Given, L. M.
Hartling, L.
Additional contributors
scoping review
social media
Type of item
Journal Article (Published)
OBJECTIVE: To map the state of the existing literature evaluating the use of social media in patient and caregiver populations. DESIGN: Scoping review. DATA SOURCES: Medline, CENTRAL, ERIC, PubMed, CINAHL Plus Full Text, Academic Search Complete, Alt Health Watch, Health Source, Communication and Mass Media Complete, Web of Knowledge and ProQuest (2000-2012). STUDY SELECTION: Studies reporting primary research on the use of social media (collaborative projects, blogs/microblogs, content communities, social networking sites, virtual worlds) by patients or caregivers. DATA EXTRACTION: Two reviewers screened studies for eligibility; one reviewer extracted data from relevant studies and a second performed verification for accuracy and completeness on a 10% sample. Data were analysed to describe which social media tools are being used, by whom, for what purpose and how they are being evaluated. RESULTS: Two hundred eighty-four studies were included. Discussion forums were highly prevalent and constitute 66.6% of the sample. Social networking sites (14.8%) and blogs/microblogs (14.1%) were the next most commonly used tools. The intended purpose of the tool was to facilitate self-care in 77.1% of studies. While there were clusters of studies that focused on similar conditions (eg, lifestyle/weight loss (12.7%), cancer (11.3%)), there were no patterns in the objectives or tools used. A large proportion of the studies were descriptive (42.3%); however, there were also 48 (16.9%) randomised controlled trials (RCTs). Among the RCTs, 35.4% reported statistically significant results favouring the social media intervention being evaluated; however, 72.9% presented positive conclusions regarding the use of social media. CONCLUSIONS: There is an extensive body of literature examining the use of social media in patient and caregiver populations. Much of this work is descriptive; however, with such widespread use, evaluations of effectiveness are required. In studies that have examined effectiveness, positive conclusions are often reported, despite non-significant findings.
Date created
License information
Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 3.0 Unported

Citation for previous publication
Hamm, M. P., Chisholm, A., Shulhan, J., Milne, A., Scott, S. D., Given, L. M., & Hartling, L. (2013). Social media use among patients and caregivers: A scoping review. BMJ Open, 3(5).
Link to related item

File Details

Date Uploaded
Date Modified
Audit Status
Audits have not yet been run on this file.
File format: pdf (Portable Document Format)
Mime type: application/pdf
File size: 433780
Last modified: 2015:10:12 19:02:09-06:00
Filename: BMJO_2013_3_002819.pdf
Original checksum: f04c590e7c5b66fe3e1ec95bc557ff6f
Well formed: false
Valid: false
Status message: Invalid Resources Entry in document offset=417771
Status message: Unexpected error in findFonts java.lang.ClassCastException: edu.harvard.hul.ois.jhove.module.pdf.PdfSimpleObject cannot be cast to edu.harvard.hul.ois.jhove.module.pdf.PdfDictionary offset=3707
Status message: Invalid Annotation list offset=417771
Activity of users you follow
User Activity Date