Social Buzz: Sentiment analysis of the phrase “Medical Assistance in Dying” on social media.

Activity #2

Using the website Social Searcher (2019), the phrase “Medical assistance in dying” was analyzed for Sentiment on 11 different social media platforms from July 2016 to July 2019.  The initial lack of discussion using this term surprised me, as MAID became legal in Canada in 2016 (Dying with Dignity Canada, 2019).  The above images capture the sentiment (3:7 ratio positive to negative) as well as a snapshot of popular positive posts and popular negative posts. Using sentiment analysis to understand how medical issues are perceived in online platforms can be useful for healthcare provide, as they can retrieve “user-generated contents in health communities to get some insights, including topics of discussion threads, differences in discussion between health communities and influences between users ” (Yang, Lee, & Kuo, 2016, p235) in order to integrate this into their approach to care.

Nurses can use this type of search to better understand how people feel about current health subjects. By looking at how certain users respond to a topic, they can enhance their understanding of these groups and tailor their interventions to the specific needs of these groups. In the case of MAID, the predominance of negative sentiment should be explored further to examine what groups are expressing negative comments, and in what manner. As it is a relatively new concept, it will be interesting to monitor over time to see how sentiment changes in the general population.

Dying with Dignity Canada. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.dyingwithdignity.ca/get_the_facts_assisted_dying_law_in_canada

Social Searcher. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.social-searcher.com

Yang, F., Lee, A. J., & Kuo, S. (2016). Mining health social media with sentiment analysis. Journal of Medical Systems, 40(11), 1-8. doi:10.1007/s10916-016-0604-4

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