The Opportunities of Virtual Social Networks in Awareness of Covid-19: Experience of Medical Sciences Students in Iran

Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant Professor of Health Information Management Department of Health Information Technology, School of Management and Medical Information Sciences Health Human Resources Research Center Shiraz University of Medical Sciences

2 Associate Professor of Health Information Management, Department of Health Information Management, School of Management and Medical Information Sciences, Health Human Resources Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

3 PhD in Medical Informatics, National Agency for Strategic Research in Medical Education, Tehran, Iran.

4 MSc Student in Health Information Technology, School of Management and Medical Information Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

5 MSc Student in Health Information Technology, School of Para-Medicine, Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences, Bandar Abbas, Iran.


Introduction: Despite the availability of various vaccines to prevent Covid-19, the individuals’ awareness of this disease is essential. Social networks, as one of the important information media, can meet this need. In this study, an attempt was made to examine the students’ awareness of Covid-19 through social networks.
Methods: The present study was conducted in 2 stages. At first, a narrative review was done about the effectiveness of social media in coronavirus pandemic. At the second phase, a descriptive cross-sectional study was performed on 384 students of Shiraz University of
Medical Sciences using simple sampling method in 2020. After determining the validity and reliability, we designed a questionnaire using PorsLine website and the link was sent to the students by WhatsApp. The questionnaire included 25 questions (4 questions were about demographic data and the others were related to the level of knowledge and respondents’ agreement to use social networks in COVID-19 disease). Finally, the results were analyzed using SPSS.
Results: The review of previous studies showed the diverse role of social networks in preparedness, response, and recovery of public health threats. Also, the results showed high levels of the respondents’ agreement to use virtual networks in Coronavirus pandemic. 69.1% of the students emphasized that social networks, especially Instagram, is the first source of
receiving information about mortality, symptoms, methods of transmission, and prevention of COVID-19. Also, according to the results, more than 90% of the participants were more inclined to use social networks during the pandemic.
Conclusion: Popularity of virtual technologies in health industries provides opportunities regarding health issues pandemic. Such environments provide opportunities for the policymakers and health managers to monitor the level of the public’s awareness about Covid-19 and make the best decision to control this worldwide threat.


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