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How to Build a Social Network in Health

There are three main qualities required to create a successful social network in health: trust, transparency, and meritocracy. The first element, trust, can be created by connecting people with trusted health information and the best care providers. The second element is making online health information transparent, which creates participant accountability for their contributions, and community accountability to maintain the quality of the information that’s provided. The third element of success is recognizing merit, which encourages increased participation, by allowing an equal opportunity to contribute to the network, both by adding information and by evaluating it through peer review.

When these three qualities have aligned a framework for a successful social health network has been created. The community thrives because it is built by people who participate and engage for the right reasons, and who are continuously adding real sustainable value to everyone involved.


  1. How to create a successful social network in health?
  2. How to build trust with in social network of sensitive information?
  3. How to build transparency such that participants remain accountable for their contributions?
  4. How to recognize merit to incentivize participation?
  5. How to create peer and expert review mechanisms to establish reliability and augment trust?



Jessica Hershfield, Social Media Associate, HealthTap

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