How can social media lead to co-production (co-delivery) of new services for the elderly population? A qualitative study

Hadi Daneshvar*, Stuart Anderson, Robin Williams, Hajar Mozaffar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: The future of health care services in the European Union faces the triple challenges of aging, fiscal restriction, and inclusion. Co-production offers ways to manage informal care resources to help them cater for the growing needs of elderly people. Social media (SM) is seen as a critical enabler for co-production. Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate how SM—private Facebook groups, forums, Twitter, and blogging—acts as an enabler of co-production in health and care by facilitating its four underlying principles: equality, diversity, accessibility, and reciprocity. Methods: We used normalization process theory as our theoretical framework to design this study. We conducted a qualitative study and collected data through 20 semistructured interviews and observation of the activities of 10 online groups and individuals. We then used thematic analysis and drew on principles of co-production (equality, diversity, accessibility, and reciprocity) as a deductive coding framework to analyze our findings. Results: Our findings point to distinct patterns of feature use by different people involved in care of elderly people. This diversity makes possible the principles of co-production by offering equality among users, enabling diversity of use, making experiences accessible, and encouraging reciprocity in the sharing of knowledge and mutual support. We also identified that explication of common resources may lead to new forms of competition and conflicts. These conflicts require better management to enhance the coordination of the common pool of resources. Conclusions: SM uses afford new forms of organizing and collective engagement between patients, carers, and professionals, which leads to change in health and care communication and coordination.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere5
JournalJMIR Human Factors
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • EHealth
  • health informatics
  • MHealth
  • social media
  • social networking
  • Web 2.0


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