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Analyzing Patient Safety Discussions in a Public Facebook Group Community

Wolynn, Riley (2024) Analyzing Patient Safety Discussions in a Public Facebook Group Community. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Introduction. Medical errors rank as a preventable cause of disability and death in the United States. The emergence of digital platforms such as social media has facilitated patient engagement in this topic and offers new avenues for understanding patient experiences.

Methods. The first chapter of this thesis presents an overview of literature related to patient safety research as well as current challenges and trends with this research. Next, this thesis presents a stand-alone journal article consisting of a study analyzing content posted to a public patient safety Facebook group called the Patient Safety Action Network Community (PSANC) from November 21, 2022, to June 23, 2023. For this study, 200 posts were manually extracted and double-coded using a codebook developed through a grounded theory approach. The analysis involved descriptive statistics, cross-tabulations, and qualitative analysis.

Results: The literature review uncovered a steadily increasing effort to include patient perspectives in patient safety research, but barriers remain. The analysis of Facebook posts revealed that 70.5% (n=141) were directly relevant to patient safety. Of relevant posts, the majority had a link to additional information (85.8%, n=121). Cross-tabulations showed a statistically significant association between posts containing links and discussions on patient empowerment and advocacy, infection-related discussions in the context of vulnerable populations, and between policy and advocacy discussions. Qualitative analysis revealed themes related to the emotional and physical impacts of medical errors on individuals and families, systemic challenges and advocacy, empowerment though education, and community support and shared experiences.

Conclusions. Findings from the literature search and analysis of Facebook posts affirm persistent safety concerns and the evolving role of patients in healthcare discourse. Findings also suggest the necessity for nuanced policy reforms and the potential of digital engagement in enhancing patient safety and advocacy. These findings are important for public health in that they highlight the possibility of addressing healthcare disparities and managing costs through more inclusive and patient-centered care strategies.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Wolynn, Rileyriw22@pitt.eduRIW220000-0003-4446-9129
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHoffman, Beth Lbeth.hoffman@pitt.edublh72
Committee ChairPhrampus, Paul
Committee ChairHuber,
Thesis AdvisorSidani, Jaime Ejes107@pitt.edujes107
Date: 16 May 2024
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 17 April 2024
Approval Date: 16 May 2024
Submission Date: 25 April 2024
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 106
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: medical error, patient safety
Date Deposited: 16 May 2024 19:47
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 19:47


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