Using Social Media to Facilitate Consumer Engagement in Health Service Improvement

Louisa Walsh is examining the question “How can social media be used to facilitate consumer engagement in hospital service design and quality improvement?”  as part of her PHD research.

The project will explore how social media can be most effectively used by public hospitals to enhance existing consumer engagement strategies through:

  • diversifying the consumers they engage with to better reflect their patient community, and
  • providing opportunities for innovation in the way consumer engagement activities are conducted.

This participatory research project will result in developing a series of recommendations or set of guidelines for health services wanting to include social media approaches in their suite of consumer engagement activities.

The studies currently underway are:

  • A scoping review exploring how social media is used to influence health service change and in health service quality improvement activities from 2004-present with a focus on platforms used, population types, activities undertaken, barriers, enablers, benefits, risks/limitations.

While Louisa aims to complete her PhD by December 2021, she will be publishing her research findings ahead of completing the thesis. New publications will be shared via this webpage.

This project is funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship (APP1168409).

Research team

Advisory Group

This PhD project is being conducted using a participatory research methodology. The Advisory Group is made up of six people with an interest in social media use in health, and includes both health consumers and service providers (clinical and non-clinical). The Advisory Group provides guidance for the project and its members and the research team act together as co-researchers and co-participants within a participatory research framework.


Walsh L, Hyett N, & Hill S. (2019, March 18). The use of social media by health service providers and consumers as a tool for health service design and quality improvement: A scoping review protocol (Version 2). figshare.


Walsh, L. (2019, December 5). PhD confirmation - Using social media to facilitate consumer engagement in Australian public hospital service design and quality improvement.

Walsh, L. (2020, November 12). Mid-candidature review - Using social media to facilitate consumer engagement in Australia public hospital service design and quality improvement