The use of social media and social networking (SM&N) is prevalent in health care. Through social media, individuals can access information to enhance their overall health and well-being. Given that prevention is crucial to a long healthy life, as well as restraining escalating health care costs, this study offers insights into the types of social media and networking platforms that health care consumers consider most important, especially with regard to obtaining Preventive Health Care Information (PHCI). Further, it goes on to identify the demographics of persons who consider social media and social networking platforms as most important. This research used an online survey that yielded a sample of 930, whose demographics were comparable to the U.S. population. The results indicated the most important SM&N platforms were traditional digital sources such as WebMD, Wiki’s, and internet search browsers such as Google. Also, prestigious hospitals, such as John Hopkins, MD Anderson, Cleveland Clinic and public health websites were important delivery systems for PHCI. Lastly, social media platforms like Facebook are increasing in importance, while YouTube is used more often by health consumers. Demographically SM&N was most important for (1) those whose employers offered health promotion or wellness programs, (2) those employed part-time, (3) younger health consumers mostly in the 19-24 age group, (4) African-Americans, and (5) single people who have never been married. The next generation of health consumers are expected to make greater use of SM&N platforms to secure their PHCI.
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