A Scoping Review of Social Media in Health Care


Project OverviewProject TeamPublications

Project Overview

Social media includes a group of online tools that allow users to create and exchange information. This represents a significant advancement in the way in which we can share information. Tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have begun to be used to communicate health information to patients and allow people with similar healthcare needs to share information and experiences. Social media has the potential to be an important tool within health care for sharing information. While many people promote the use of social media in health care, there has been no comprehensive review of the evidence showing how social media is used and whether it is effective. This scoping review will bring together a wide body of literature to describe the state of the science with respect to social media and its uses in health care. Social media could become a powerful tool in the health care setting to engage patients, share information, and ultimately improve patient outcomes. This scoping review will provide a solid foundation to direct further work for this innovative, cutting-edge field.


Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Knowledge Synthesis Grant. $50,000 (CDN).

Project Team

lisa-smLisa Given

Dr. Given is Professor of Information Studies and Associate Dean Research (Faculty of Education) and a member of the Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education at Charles Sturt University, Australia. She serves as a member of the College of the Australian Research Council and is an Adjunct Professor in Humanities Computing, Faculty of Arts and in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta.

hartlingLisa Hartling

Lisa Hartling is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta. She is Director of the Alberta Research Center for Health Evidence and Director of the University of Alberta Evidence-based Practice Center. Lisa has been involved in conducting systematic reviews and methodological research around issues in systematic reviews for over 10 years, and has published extensively in this area.



klassenTerry Klassen

Dr Terry Klassen has been the Director of Research for the Manitoba Institute of Child Health and Associate Dean (Academic) in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manitoba, in charge of the George and Fay Yee Center for Healthcare Innovation since September, 2010. He is a clinician scientist whose clinical base is Pediatric Emergency Medicine, and has been active in Pediatric Emergency Research Canada collaborating on a national research program involving randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews and knowledge translation.



scottShannon Scott

Dr. Shannon Scott is a Professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta. She currently holds a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair for knowledge translation in child health and an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) Population Health Investigator award. Her ECHO research program aims to improve the health outcomes of children in Alberta and Canada through application of the best research evidence, as well as exploring factors that shape research implementation.

Selected Publications

Hamm, Michele P., Annabritt Chisholm, Jocelyn Shulhan, Andrea Milne, Shannon D. Scott, Lisa M. Given, and Lisa Hartling. 2013. “A scoping review of the use of social media in patient and caregiver populations.” British Medical Journal Open 3(5). doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002819