In blog 1, the definition and process of social media analytics are explained; In blog 2, the primary contents of SDG3 are illustrated. Continue to the last two blogs, how can we combine these two together? In other words, how can social media analytics help to solve the existing health problems? Instead of giving a broad introduction, I would love to discuss some particular issues that SMA can contribute to.
1. Improvement on health insurance
In 2018, I’ve known a “drug hero” named Lu Yong through the movie “Dying to survive” and noticed a group of people are not only suffering from serious diseases but also taking a heavy economic burden. In 2003, Lu was a leukemia patient and spent out all his savings because of a curing medicine Gleevec, which is not covered by health insurance and would cost 23000 yuan just for one-month supply. Leukemia patients like Lu started to share their miserable experience and complain the high cost of Gleevec on BBS. Patients were trying different solutions and seeking help through various approaches, however, without money, they could do nothing but die. Luckily, Lu found an Indian generic version of Gleevec that only cost 200 yuan and started to help patients purchase this drug on BBS and QQ, saving hundreds of lives.
It’s a moving story, but never is an eternal solution for a country. As shown in Fig1, in 2014 China, about 30% of people has to spend their own expense on health matters. Unlike 2003, recently, people love to share and post their lives on social media like BBS, Weibo or Twitter. To prevent this tragedy happening again, SMA can play an important role to help improve the health insurance coverage through the following aspects:
- According collected statistics on social media, it’s much easier to detect the existing medical problems (such as the searching numbers, topics, trends).
- Help letter on social media can be another important insight. Applying SMA, summarization of existing issues can be easily shown, and the relative organization or government can offer help depending on the emergency. (e.g. Financial difficulties of leukemia patients would be discovered faster)
- According to different types of diseases, using keywords like ‘money’, ‘specific drug name’, ‘hospital’, ‘bed number’ to calculate the actual demands of patients and detect the contradictions between plans and actual situation.
2.Better awareness on mental health
As mentioned in SDG 3.8, promoting mental health and well-being need everyone’s attention. As shown in Fig.2, the number of suicides in US is increasing and going to exceed 45000. The stress comes from all sides, we can’t predict and sometimes hard to prevent. In addition to real-life consult, what kind of role can SMA play in keeping mental health?
- NLP and sentiment analysis could be vital approaches. The content of Twitter, Weibo posted in public could be classified as positive or negative. If an account keeps posting negative content for about 10 days, the social media platform could firstly try to pop up some relief post like cat movies or relaxing songs.
- With the help of SMA, sensitive words like ‘suicide’, ‘die’, ‘testament’ or other negative words could be quickly detected. Experts could try to comfort through private massage or comment, and call on the police if necessary.
3. SMA can also….
a) Infectious disease control: Through statistics of shared locations, find people most likely to be infected. For example, if someone shared location in ‘华南海鲜市场’ in Wuhan among December to January, he/she could probably go there and has a great chance to be infected of novel coronavirus. SMA could help to track those people and control at the first time.
b) Help quitting smoking and alcohol: pop up public service announcements or relative short videos to the users who posted about smoking or alcohol with high frequency.
And many other aspects you can share with me.
Above suggestions are my primary assumptions, the balance between privacy and SMA still should be noted. This blog is a little bit long, but every aspect is coming from deep thought. Hope it can give you different insights.
 Time trends of total health expenditures and out-of-pocket expenditures in China. Nabholz, Christoph. (2017). Diabetes in China.
 Suicide in the United States. Wikipedia. Retrieved from