Date of Conferral
Communication between patients and health care providers at hospital discharge is a critical factor that determines whether a patient understands their treatment plan and self-care instructions. Lack of effective health management after hospital discharge can decrease the quality of life for a patient and increase the likelihood of costly hospital readmission. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore factors affecting the receptivity of patients using social media as a platform for post discharge, provider-client communication, and assessment. This was explored using social presence theory. Twenty patients between 45 to 65 years of age, who received care from hospitals in Northeast Ohio, were interviewed for the study. The data was transcribed and analyzed through open coding to create themes and clusters. The themes that emerged from this study were ease of use, privacy, and convenience as well as reasons why participants may access health-related social media being specifically linked to cohesive factors of ownership of their data. The personal relationship established between patient and provider influenced communication methods. Social connections were also deeply-rooted themes in the study as the influence of other people or the need to access data were among reasons for choosing to use social media. Ease of access, importance of confidentiality, quick response time from providers, and ability to see personal medical information was important to the participants in social media communications with providers. The positive social change implications of this study are that communication issues at discharge could be mitigated if patients would accept using social media for communication with their health care providers once they are at home.