Online Health Communities in the Vortex of Healthcare Controversies

European Journal of Health Communication (EJHC) invites submissions to a Special Issue on “Online Health Communities in the Vortex of Healthcare Controversies: Theoretical Frameworks and Empirical Studies” (Guest Editors: Gregor Petrič & Sara Atanasova, University of Ljubljana).

Online health communities (OHCs) are dynamic and insightful places where a variety of communicative processes can be detected; these processes are linked to tensions between different levels of accessibility, different forms of interaction, various streams of knowledge, tensions between low and high e-health literacy, conflicts between expert and patient expertise, positive and negative aspects of patient empowerment, and the like. This special issue aims to address the tensions, opportunities, and perils of OHCs that have important effects on individuals such as patients, caregivers, and health professionals as well as on patient-health professional interaction, the healthcare system and its services. This special issue is open but not limited to studies that intersect or interconnect with the following topics:

  1. Communicative dynamics in OHCs and their controversial outcomes
  2. Quality, validity, credibility of health-related information in OHCs
  3. Causes and consequences of (dis)trust and (mis)information in OHCs
  4. Patient empowerment and disempowerment and their effects on the self-management of health issues, decision making processes, and trust in health experts
  5. Empowerment of health-professionals participating in OHCs
  6. Impact of patient-health professional interaction in OHCs on offline patient-health professional relationships
  7. The potential of OHCs for co-creation processes in the context of healthcare policies and businesses
  8. OHCs’ role in informing policy, regulators, and health decision makers
  9. Other topics related to OHCs

This special issue welcomes innovative studies and invites both theoretical and empirical papers with qualitative, quantitative, or mixed method approaches, so long as they address at least one of the above topics. To publish a paper in the journal special issue no payment from the authors will be required.

More information about the call:

Contact Guest Editors

Gregor Petrič, University of Ljubljana: gregor.petric [at]

Sara Atanasova, University of Ljubljana: sara.atanasova [at]

Deadline for submission is 28 February 2022.