Transactions of the International Conference on Health Information Technology Advancement

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Social media has dramatically affected the way information is accessed and circulated. Social networking sites continue to create on-line communities where every participant plays an active role in seeking and sharing information. While social networks have profoundly impacted different industries in terms of communication between business-to-business and business-to-consumer interaction, they also have had significant impact on many stakeholders in the healthcare communication system. This report describes how a non-profit social networking site called CaringBridge can help patients communicate about their health challenges and gain support though their writings. When traditional “Illness Narratives” (a patient’s reflective writing about his/her illness) become interactive and conversational in a digital platform, the selfexpression and connectivity taking place in an on-line social community contribute immensely to the patient’s health journey.