Social Networks in Improvement of Health Care
Izet Masic, Suad Sivic, Selim Toromanovic, Tea Borojevic, Haris Pandza
Mat Soc Med. 2012; 24(1): 48-53

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Social network is a social structure made of individuals or organizations associated with one or more types of interdependence (friendship, common interests, work, knowledge, prestige, etc.) which are the “nodes” of the network. Networks can be organized to exchange information, knowledge or financial assistance under the various interest groups in universities, workplaces and associations of citizens. Today the most popular and widely used networks are based on application of the Internet as the main ICT. Depending on the method of connection, their field of activity and expertise of those who participate in certain networks, the network can be classified into the following groups: a) Social Networks with personal physical connectivity (the citizens’ associations, transplant networks, etc.), b) Global social internet network (Facebook, Twitter, Skype), c) specific health internet social network (forums, Health Care Forums, Healthcare Industry Forum), d) The health community internet network of non professionals (DailyStrength, CaringBridge, CarePages, MyFamilyHealth), e) Scientific social internet network (BiomedExperts, ResearchGate, iMedExchange), f) Social internet network which supported professionals (HealthBoards, Spas and Hope Association of Disabled and diabetic Enurgi), g) Scientific medical internet network databases in the system of scientific and technical information (CC, Pubmed/Medline, Excerpta Medica/EMBASE, ISI Web Knowledge, EBSCO, Index Copernicus, Social Science Index, etc.). The information in the network are exchanged in real time and in a way that has until recently been impossible in real life of people in the community. Networks allow tens of thousands of specific groups of people performing a series of social, professional and educational activities in the place of living and housing, place of work or other locations where individuals are. Network provides access to information related to education, health, nutrition, drugs, procedures, etc., which gives a special emphasis on public health aspects of information, especially in the field of medicine and health care. The authors of this paper discuss the role and practical importance of social networks in improving the health and solving of health problems without the physical entrance into the health care system. Social networks have their advantages and disadvantages, benefits and costs, especially when it comes to information which within the network set unprofessional people from unreliable sources, without an adequate selection. The ethical aspect of the norms in this segment is still not adequately regulated, so any sanctions for the unauthorized and malicious use of social networks in private and other purposes in order to obtain personal gain at the expense of individuals or groups (sick or healthy, owners of certain businesses and companies, health organizations and pharmaceutical manufacturers, etc.), for which there is still no global or European codes and standards of conduct. Cyber crime is now one of the mostly present types of crime in modern times, as evidenced by numerous scandals that are happening both globally and locally.


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