Voices of the "99 Percent": The Role of Online Narrative to Improve Health Care

Beth Sundstrom
2016 The Permanente Journal  
Context: Communal blogs facilitate online narratives by providing opportunities for individuals to co-construct meaning and to engage in discussion about lived health experiences. Objective: To examine the role of health as a connective narrative among individuals organizing collectively in an online community. The "We are the 99 percent" Tumblr blog emerged as a spontaneous community platform of the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US. Design: Researchers conducted a qualitative content
more » ... sis of a total of 2003 blog posts. Main Outcome Measures: Data analysis included a process of data reduction, display, and conclusion drawing and verification. Results: Bloggers discussed medical crises and the role of injury and illness in maintaining financial solvency. The difficulty of obtaining health care and the lack of accessible quality care emerged as themes. In particular, unemployment and underemployment limited access to health insurance coverage. The bloggers expressed dissatisfaction with the health care system and the impact of financial status on health. These challenges were exacerbated for marginalized populations, such as women and veterans. Conclusion: Findings offer implications for the value of online narrative to improve health care initiatives and to provide insight to integrated health care systems, including health care practitioners, nonprofit organizations, hospitals, and policy makers. Results suggest opportunities to address the health care gaps of marginalized populations and to develop public health policy.
doi:10.7812/tpp/15-224 pmid:27455070 pmcid:PMC5101090 fatcat:nd2kbvbxqnd5rg3mg7cyon3qci