Privacy and Security Concerns in Adopting Social Media for Personal Health Management: A Health Plan Case Study

Privacy and Security Concerns in Adopting Social Media for Personal Health Management: A Health Plan Case Study

Sinjini Mitra (Steven G. Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA, USA) and Rema Padman (H. John Heinz III College, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/jcit.2012100102
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Abstract

The use of social media for health and wellness promotion is gathering significant momentum. Several early adopting health plans and provider organizations have begun to design and pilot social and mobile media platforms to empower members to enhance self-management of health and wellness goals. However, there is considerable concern among the general population regarding the privacy, security and reliability of health-related information obtained or collected through online and social media channels. In this teaching case of members of a large health plan in Pennsylvania, the authors examine these concerns in the context of several factors such as demographic, clinical conditions including the presence of chronic conditions, level of computer and social media usage, and frequency of engagement in specific online activities. Furthermore, they also examine the role of privacy, security and confidentiality concerns in members’ interest in adopting such technology platforms for health-related information and services, if offered by the health plan. Analysis of relevant data from more than 4,000 survey responses does not indicate significant differences among important segments of the member population. There is remarkable uniformity regarding privacy and security concerns expressed by members. The authors anticipate that these insights can assist health plans to develop and deploy services and tools for health and wellness management keeping in mind the relevant risk considerations.

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