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Exploring the Situational Approach to Decision Making: User eConsent on a Health Social Network

Authors: W. Rowan, Y. O’Connor, L. Lynch, C. Heavin


Situation Awareness can offer the potential for conscious dynamic reflection. In an era of online health data sharing, it is becoming increasingly important that users of health social networks (HSNs) have the information necessary to make informed decisions as part of the registration process and in the provision of eConsent. This research aims to leverage an adapted Situation Awareness (SA) model to explore users’ decision making processes in the provision of eConsent. A HSN platform was used to investigate these behaviours. A mixed methods approach was taken. This involved the observation of registration behaviours followed by a questionnaire and focus group/s. Early results suggest that users are apt to automatically accept eConsent, and only later consider the long-term implications of sharing their personal health information. Further steps are required to continue developing knowledge and understanding of this important eConsent process. The next step in this research will be to develop a set of guidelines for the improved presentation of eConsent on the HSN platform.

Keywords: eConsent, health social network, mixed methods, situation awareness.

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