Twitter as a tool for delivering improved Quality of Life for people with chronic conditions

Authors: Pulman, A.

Journal: Journal of Nursing and Healthcare of Chronic Illness

Volume: 1

Pages: 245-252

DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-9824.2009.01027.x


Aims and objectives. This article discusses the changing nature of healthcare to a more transparent personalised delivery model and examines the rise in the use of blogging and microblogging by people with chronic conditions. It then explores how the use of the microblogging tool Twitter could be effective as a means of delivering improved Quality of Life for people with chronic conditions.

Background. Global healthcare systems face increasing demands for better service and more information. Twitter is a free microblogging application providing users with the ability to communicate through the exchange of answers to the question: What are you doing? It has evolved beyond this base functionality to provide a variety of alternate uses, some of which are health related and which might offer opportunities in relation to improving health and quality of life.

Data sources. A thorough literature review of relevant journals, Internet sources and Twitter itself was undertaken. This looked at the use of microblogging tools for health-related subjects with a particular focus on chronic conditions. The review provided a comprehensive foundation for the paper; however, it is acknowledged that as this nascent technology is particularly fast moving, further advances and uses might have taken place since it was written.

Conclusion. Twitter is an ideal candidate for delivering and constituting improved Quality of Life. It could cultivate and inspire private, focused group conversations between people with chronic conditions and offer an effective targeted information channel for practitioners.

Relevance to clinical practice. Current definitions concerning the integration of health information and support with Web 2.0 technology are primarily concerned with approaches from a healthcare or medical perspective, which do not effectively consider how this might work from the viewpoint of the patient. There is a need to design a patient centered framework, encapsulating the use of Web 2.0 technology for people with long-term conditions who might want to support, mitigate or improve their own quality of life. This leads to questions as to which technology working within this framework might impact on health-related quality of life, how might it be satisfactorily measured and whether its use could be effectively translated into a noticeable improvement in the quality of life of individuals with long-term conditions.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Andy Pulman