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WEDNESDAY, January 22, 2020 (US Heart Association News) – Combining the power and vast range of social media, unlimited resources of websites and apps, and thirst for information and undeniable health motivation. The result is a powerful tool for researchers, healthcare providers and patients. But like many aspects of the internet, it can be a mixed blessing.
"Social media is an incredible product to provide support and promote good information in ways we couldn't before," said Dr. Raina Merchant, director of the Center for Technical Health. Penn numbers in Philadelphia said. "They can be a powerful way to understand what patients are saying and what their concerns are."
Her research has included analyzing Facebook posts to predict medical and psychological issues, using Yelp to evaluate drug treatment facilities and helping clinicians use media. Social communication to better understand patient experience.
However, when analyzing millions of health-related tweets, she encountered a common online dilemma: false information.
"One really common thing is that people say if you eat frozen lemon, it will cure your diabetes," she said. "Of course, that's ridiculous, but you can cause a lot of damage by stopping the medicine and eating only frozen lemons. We have to resist that."
It is challenging at the intersection of social media and …