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Image by National Cancer Institute

CSCW 2021 - Sunday October 24th 2021

Online health communities (OHCs) are spaces where people gather for informational and emotional support around specific medical conditions and concerns. Although OHCs are an active and exciting research area that continuously attracts a wide range of approaches and methodologies, the focus has been mostly on a limited selection of OHCs or medical conditions. At the same time, there are novel challenges that OHCs face, including changes to the medical system resulting from the COVID-19 crisis, increased medical misinformation propagating online, and additional focus on personalized medical advice that is less attainable in traditional medical systems.

This workshop seeks to bring together researchers with wide-ranging experiences who have studied or are interested in OHCs and who understand the unique opportunities for novel research. We aim to create generalizable lessons about what we already know about OHCs, while also mapping out research agendas for future research in the area to account for and respond to the ongoing changes in OHCs and healthcare in general.

As a final outcome, we will summarize the discussions and disseminate our findings to the broader community, e.g., through an ACM Interactions or longer survey of the field, and propose a future agenda for what remains as unanswered questions in the face of changing social media, web platforms, and health care.

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