Factors That Influence Healthcare Professionals’ Online Interaction in a Virtual Community of Practice

DOI: 10.4236/sn.2013.24017   PDF   HTML     3,901 Downloads   7,442 Views   Citations


Online technologies have facilitated the development of Virtual Communities of Practice (virtual CoPs) to support health professionals collaborate online to share knowledge, improve performance and support the spread of innovation and best practices. Research, however,shows that many virtual CoPs do not achieve their expected potential because online interaction among healthcare professionals is generally low. Focusing on health visitors, who are UK qualified midwives or nurses who have undertaken additional qualifications as specialist public health workers in the community, the paper examines the factors that influence online interaction among health visitors collaborating to share knowledge and experience in a virtual CoP. The paper makes suggestions for how to improve online interaction among health professionals in virtual CoPs by increasing the size of membership in order to take advantage of both posting and viewing contributions, facilitating moderation to improve networking among geographically dispersed members groups and im-proving the topic relevance in order to stimulate contributions.

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Ikioda, F. , Kendall, S. , Brooks, F. , De Liddo, A. and Buckingham Shum, S. (2013) Factors That Influence Healthcare Professionals’ Online Interaction in a Virtual Community of Practice. Social Networking, 2, 174-184. doi: 10.4236/sn.2013.24017.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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