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Participatory online platforms and the construction of citizen autonomy in health issues

Martins, ND; Alvelos, H; Espanha, R;

Handbook of Research on ICTs and Management Systems for Improving Efficiency in Healthcare and Social Care

The goal of the present study is mapping the nature of possible contributions of participatory online platforms in citizen actions that may contribute in the fight against cancer and its associated consequences. The research is based on the analysis of online solidarity networks, namely the ones residing on Facebook and the blogosphere, that citizens have been gradually resorting to. The research is also based on the development of newer and more efficient solutions that provide the individual (directly or indirectly affected by issues of oncology) with the means to overcome feelings of impotence and fatality. In this chapter, the authors summarize the processes of usage of these decentralized, freer participatory platforms by citizens and institutions, while attempting to unravel existing hype and stigma; the authors also provide a first survey of the importance and the role of institutions in this kind of endeavor; lastly, they present a prototype, developed in the context of the present study that is specifically dedicated to addressing oncology through social media. © 2013, IGI Global.