Patients’ perception of privacy of personal data, shared in online communities: are we in presence of a paradox?

2019-03-06T17:57:18+00:00 March 6th, 2019|Featured, News, Publications|

  • Presented at International Conference on Informatics, Management and Technology in Healthcare (ICIMTH) 2018

  • Collaborator: INSERM

  • Authors: Lamas E, Coquedano C, Bousquet C, Ferrer M,  Chekroun M, Zorrilla S, Salinas R

Virtual online communities help people in coping with complex health issues, such as those present in patients suffering chronic diseases. Further research is required in order to clarify the impact of sharing of personal experiences on the perception of privacy and confidentiality by patients. We studied the case of Carenity an online social network created in France in 2011 bringing together 300,000 patients across Europe, and selected patients suffering Multiple Sclerosis. We conducted an exploratory-descriptive survey, and 253 patients completed an online questionnaire. Most participants did not consider that their privacy was threatened when sharing their personal experiences and data associated with their health condition. As common sense prevents one to share information to strangers to ensure privacy, such paradox may be explained by new strategies to face challenges imposed by chronic conditions disease, where sharing personal experiences may be considered as a complementary source of social support by patients.