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Health Communication

Strategies for Developing Global Health Programs

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Edited By Do Kyun Kim, Arvind Singhal and Gary L. Kreps

Promotion of healthy behaviors and prevention of disease are inextricably linked to cultural understandings of health and well-being. Health communication scholarship and practice can substantially and strategically contribute to people living safer, healthier, and happier lives. This book represents a concrete step in that direction by establishing a strategic framework for guiding global and local health practices.
Taking a multi-disciplinary approach, the volume includes state-of-the-art theories that can be applied to health communication interventions and practical guidelines about how to design, implement, and evaluate effective health communication interventions.
Few books have synthesized such a broad range of theories and strategies of health communication that are applicable globally, and also provided clear advice about how to apply such strategies. This volume combines academic research and field experience, guided by past and future research agendas and on-the-ground implementation opportunities.
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Chapter 20 Evaluating Health Communication Interventions (Gary L. Kreps, George Mason University)

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Gary L. Kreps, George Mason University

Health communication programs have become an essential and ubiquitous part of the delivery of health care and the promotion of public health in the modern world. These programs provide basic health information, warnings about health risks, guidelines for delivering self-care, education about diseases and therapies, feedback about changing health conditions, updates about medical test results, strategies for breaking negative health habits and adopting healthy behaviors, and support for making complex health decisions. Common health communication programs include the use of simple posters, instructional handouts, and pamphlets, professional counseling and health education interactions in medical offices and clinics, as well as the introduction of intricate health information websites, public service announcements, on-line patient and caregiver support groups, tailored health information systems, webinar-based tutorials, entertainment education programs, tele-health home monitoring and interaction systems, interactive patient-centered health records, patient computer portals, mobile health applications, and even (my favorite) the use of intelligent interactive human agents (avatars and robots) to provide counseling and health education to consumers (Neuhauser & Kreps, 2003; Neuhauser & Kreps, 2010).

While the use of health communication programs has proliferated, we are not always well informed about the influences these programs are having on the different audiences they are designed for. Typically these health communication programs are designed with lofty intentions to help people, but with limited data to guide their development, implementation, refinement, and institutionalization. Often these health communication programs can evoke differential responses from diverse audiences, unintended influences,...

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