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

S. Kendall, Faith Ikioda, F. Brooks, Anna de Liddo, Simon Buckingham Shum

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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 improving the topic relevance in order to stimulate contributions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-184
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Networking
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2013


  • Virtual Community of Practice; Health Visitors; Online Interaction; Collaboration


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