Effective use of Social Media in Healthcare – Indian student’s research project


“Organising skills, hard work and good time management are critical for any research,” says Roshan Kumar, PhD student and winner of Amitabh Bachchan Scholarship, at La Trobe University, Melbourne, in a conversation with Prachi Rege.

Tell us what you were doing before you took off to La Trobe?

I was student of Delhi Public School Ranchi till class XII. After this I completed engineering from Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra. Here the extensive campus and laboratories greatly contributed in shaping my career and personality. I then pursued a Masters in International Business from La Trobe University.

Why did you choose this topic for your research? Did something or someone inspire you?

My reasech is titled Social Media aiding healthcare communication in India: A knowledge Management perspective. The idea of applying a free medium like social media as a tool for effective knowledge management, that can be used by professionals in the industry to treat their patients has always been an inspiring aspect for me. If suitable mechanisms are employed to prevent knowledge loss and harvest knowledge in healthcare, it could provide better healthcare services to even the remotest part of the country. The number of lives that are lost due to lack of knowledge in healthcare organisational settings are baffling.

What is your research about? Is it pure or applied research?

I strongly believe that developing nations like ours can gain from implementing systematic knowledge management in demanding areas like healthcare. I sense a greater potential in social media for being a fertile medium to create and share new knowledge. My research is applied as I will be working to develop this initiative, tracking and analysing the strengths and weaknesses of trends of social media, and the users’ inclination to use it in the future. I believe that my research will add positively to the healthcare system in India which will touch the lives of 1.28 billion individuals.

What does it take to be a good research student?

I am too new as a research student to objectively define the requirements of a good research student. However, my limited experience suggests that good organisation, hard work and good time management skills are critical traits of a research student. This role requires individual commitment and hence, one should be highly self-disciplined. It is easy to lose track of time when one is investigating a research question for three years or more. Therefore, a good research student should not lose sight of her/ his goal in the long term.

How is the life on La Trobe campus? Any anecdotes you can share about student life in a foreign country?

Life on La Trobe’s Bundoora campus is vibrant. The interactions with faculty members and mentors is much more relaxed as compared to academic culture in Asian societies which makes students much confident and comfortable. When I was pursuing Master Coursework, the School of Business used to host pizza parties every couple of months. In one of these parties while I was standing aside (being shy by nature), a senior faculty member shook my hand, asked about my experiences in Australia and offered me a beer. Later, I came to know that the person who offered me that beer was the head of Graduate School of Management. This kind of openness and cordiality was unprecedented to me in my years of academic interactions in India.


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