Reflecting on a recent #hcsmca chat that she moderated on the subject of the utility of the analysis of healthcare hashtag conversations and contributors in order to aid in patients in disease awareness, Ashley Weinhandl (@ashleyweinhandl) writes:
Utilizing top influencers is definitely a valuable first step for patients looking to gather information and support when feeling alone with their disease or health concern. However, it is not the only resource that should be used. Like any information on the Internet, patients need to be aware of the source and the validity of the information provided.
It was stated that users have the option to make their tweets private, thus many saw no problem with mining their data – it’s already public. Don’t tweet publicly if you want to remain private.
Data collection through tweets should be handled in a way that will not reveal true identities. It was also suggested the line should be drawn to what the Federal Government allows for university research. Ideally, data collected should be transparent and open to the public. The power of the data is in its reliability, validity, generalizability and aggregation. All in all, who is analyzing this data and for what purpose really determines the ethics of the analytics.
Social impact, analytics and ethics made for a lively, informative and dynamic hour with #hcsmca. There were a variety of diverse opinions allowing us to expand our minds and consider ideas we hadn’t thought of before.