Examining Peer-to-Peer and Patient-Provider Interactions on a Social Media Community Facilitating Ask the Doctor Services
Ask the Doctor (AtD) services provide patients the opportunity to seek medical advice using online platforms. While these services represent a new mode of healthcare delivery, study of these online health communities and how they are used is limited. In particular, it is unknown if these platforms replicate existing barriers and biases in traditional healthcare delivery across demographic groups. We present an analysis of AskDocs, a subreddit that functions as a public AtD platform on social media. We examine the demographics of users, the health topics discussed, if biases present in offline healthcare settings exist on this platform, and how empathy is expressed in interactions between users and physicians. Our findings suggest a number of implications to enhance and support peer-to-peer and patient-provider interactions on online platforms.