Social network interventions for consumer health

Social network interventions for consumer health

Centre for health informatics

Research Stream: Consumer Informatics

Social media network

Project members

Dr Annie Lau - Senior Research Fellow

Former Project members

Dr Liliana Laranjo - Honorary Research Fellow

Ms Paige Newman - Research Officer

Project main description

Social processes underpin everything from our lifestyle choices, our health decisions, to the way healthcare is conceived and delivered.  Social media - information tools that both exploit and celebrate our social nature - are beginning to be used across healthcare. However, could social media have an even stronger role?  Could they enable us to treat socially-shaped diseases such as obesity, depression, diabetes, and heart disease?

In this research, we seek to understand how patients and consumers use social media for health purposes (i.e. e-health sociology), and examine ways we can design “social network intervention” to change the network around us to achieve better health outcomes.


  1. Coiera E. Social networks, social media, and social diseases. BMJ. 2013;346.
  2. Laranjo L, Arguel A, Neves AL, Gallagher A, Kaplan R, Mortimer N, Mendes G, Lau AYS. The influence of social networking sites on health behavior change: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of the American Medical Informatics 1. Association. 2015;Jan;22(1):243-56. doi: 10.1136/amiajnl-2014-002841. Epub 2014 Jul 8.
  3. Lau, AYS, Kwok, TMY & Coiera, E, 2011, 'How Online Crowds Influence the Way Individual Consumers Answer Health Questions', Applied Clinical Informatics, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 177 - 189
  4. Lau, AYS & Coiera, E, 2008, 'Impact of web searching and social feedback on consumer decision making: a prospective online experiment', Journal of Medical Internet Research, vol. 10, pp. 1 – 8
  5. Gabarron E, Serrano JA, Wynn R, Lau AYS. Tweets content related to sexually transmitted diseases: No joking matter. Journal of Medical Internet Research 2014;16:e228.
  6. Hansen MM, Miron-Shatz T, Lau AYS, Paton C. Big Data in Science and Healthcare: A Review of Recent Literature and Perspectives. Yearb Med Inform 2014;Aug 15;9:21-6. doi: 10.15265/IY-2014-0004.
  7. Gabarron E, Fernandez Luque L, Armayones M, Lau AYS. Identifying Measures Used for Assessing Quality of YouTube Videos with Patient Health Information: A Review of Current Literature. IJMR-interactive Journal of Medical Research. 2013;2(1):e6.
  8. Paton C, Hansen M, Fernandez-Luque L, Lau AYS. Self-Tracking, Social Media and Personal Health Records for Patient Empowered Self-Care: Contribution of the IMIA Social Media Working Group. Yearb Med Inform. 2012;7(1):16-24.
  9. Lau, AYS, Fernandez-Luque, L, Gabarron, E & Armayones, M, 2012, 'Social Media in Health - What are the Safety Concerns for Health Consumers?', Health Information Management Journal, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 30 - 35
  10. Lau, AYS, Siek, KA, Fernandez-Luque, L, Tange, H, Chhanabhai, P, Li, SYW, Elkin, PL, Arjabi, A, Walczowski, L, Ang, CS & Eysenbach, G, 2011, 'The Role of Social Media for Patients and Consumer Health', Yearb Med Inform, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 131 - 138
  11. Liaw, ST, Lau, AYS & Dennis, SM, 2010, 'General practice: engaging the online social networking revolution', Australian Family Physician, vol. 39, no. 11, pp. 809 - 810,

Project sponsors

NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in eHealth, Macquarie University

Collaborative partners

University of Melbourne
University of NSW

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Project status


Centres related to this project

Centre for Health Informatics

Content owner: Australian Institute of Health Innovation Last updated: 22 Jun 2020 1:59pm

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