Deaf People’s Engagement in Health-Related Social Media Activities Increases Online Communication with Healthcare Providers

Summary (Abstract)

Deaf people face significant barriers with accessing health information, health care services, and communication with their health care provider and as a result, show poorer health outcomes compared to the general population. Studies on the general population found that those who use social network sites (SNS) for health-related activities were more likely to communicate with their health care provider via the Internet or email. For deaf individuals who use American Sign Language (ASL), using eHealth platforms to communicate with health care providers has the potential to navigate around communication barriers and create greater opportunity to discuss screening and treatment plans. Using national data from the HINTS-ASL survey, we explored whether engagement in social eHealth activities on SNS is linked to electronic communication with health care providers after controlling for deaf patient characteristics. Our sample for this study consisted of 515 deaf participants who reported using (social media/SNS) to read and share health information. Controlling for sociodemographic variables, participants who engaged in social eHealth activity were threefold more likely to communicate with their healthcare provider electronically. Using eHealth platforms for social health engagement demonstrates potential to reduce health inequality among deaf people.


Ryan, C. & Kushalnagar, P.

Publication Date



Journal of Health Communication, International Perspectives






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