Health Information Exchange in Online Peer Support Networks

Taking part in the FINDER Amstelveen event several years ago, and recently conversing with the FINDER crowd at the SMS London, Mrs Jasmina Rueger lead by example last week by successfully defending her PhD dissertation at Wageningen University.

Focused on Health Information Exchange in Online Peer Support Networks, she addressed some governance aspects of networks that hold close resemblance to the governance of innovation networks at large also. Jasmina shared amongst others various insights into how patients discuss their health conditions and concerns online and seek support from other patients who might experience similar issues. In doing so, she suggested helpful implications that contribute to a better aca­demic and professional understanding of the role online health commu­nities play in helping patients access health information online and find support among their peers.

Some of the interesting aspects addressed during the defense with linkeage to network governance were:

  • How can researchers collect and analyse social network data from online communities to better understand relationships and information exchange in peer support networks?
  • To what extent does the advice sought and provided by peers online influence the emotional state of people, and in particular their negative emotions such as anxiety and depression?
  • How is peer advice appreciated differently depending on the level of similarity in the knowledge and experiences of the adviser and advisee?
  • Exploring Tweets about covid-19 vaccination preferences as an example of a polarised debate, how do emotions and information being exchanged online influence the diffusion of pro- and anti-vaccine sentiment on Twitter?

Members of the reading committee included:

  • Prof. Dr D.S. Moore Jr., Wageningen University & Research
  • Prof. Dr A. Boonstra, University of Groningen
  • Prof. Dr C.T.B. Ahaus, Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management, Rotterdam
  • Prof. Dr J. Pfeffer, Technical University of Munich, Germany

Most interesting work, proud to have served as your co-promotor over the past few years together with Prof. Wilfred Dolfsma of WUR. Congratulations Dr Rueger! Your achievement has certainly been inspirational to the team over here.

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