Challenges and Opportunities of Health and Care Co-production with Social Media: a Qualitative Study

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Future of health in EU faces the triple challenges of ageing, fiscal restriction and inclusion. Co-production offers ways to manage informal care resources to help them cater for the growing needs of elderly people. We investigate the opportunities and the challenges in use of Social Media (SM) as an enabler of co-production in health and care. In order to do this, we conducted a qualitative study using interviews and online observations of activities of professional carers, voluntary organisations and informal carer. We found that particular types of SM are currently used to enable co-production through coordination and communication across boundaries. Particularly Twitter and Facebook are used to connect carers, disseminate information and invite volunteers. However, there are still many other types of SM which are rarely used in this sector due to their limitations. Nevertheless, carers showed interest in using systems which help them to engage people in shaping of services, sharing of experiences and encouraging care activities.