eHealth Effectiveness Model, a focus on the Hispanic minority
MetadataShow full item record
Health communications providers strive to increase the health literacy of patients and care takers. Basic health literacy is a measure of a person’s ability to understand and act according to appropriate health information. The rise in the number of people attaining basic health literacy increases the amount of positive health behavior in the aggregate. Therefore, health communication providers can create a direct impact on tangible health results in a given population. The introduction of new technology has led to new ways of distributing health information, specifically through online media. Along with a new method of communication comes a need for a new way of evaluating it. As new media emerge and proliferate in the marketplace, different populations’ levels of health literacy become shaped in previously unpredictable ways. Current research suggests that significant differences in wealth and pervasive cultural features account for why distinct populations respond to these developments differently. Thus, the task of determining health communications’ success overall just got harder. It is now necessary to reassess health communications providers’ efficiency and effectiveness with regard to particular minority populations such as Hispanic/Latino adults. Throughout this paper, I refer to the Hispanic/Latino population’s unique characteristics as a case study for the derivation and application of universal health communication values. Thus, the purpose of this report is, based on current findings, to expose the primary values that describe and prescribe the efficacy of online health communication geared towards minorities such as Hispanic/Latino adults residing in the United States. This report concludes that the effectiveness of health information online is a function of three elements: access, quality, and communication strategy. Access represents the extent to which the intended user can search online for the sought-after health information, employ techniques to locate the intended information, and benefit from the search and comprehend the content. The quality prong of the health related Web content represents the useful indicia of accuracy and completeness of the information provided. The first two factors are a sine qua non for a robust health communication campaign. The communication strategy determines the audience reach and the relevance of the health message; both of which ultimately are the driving force for achieving lasting health behavior modification. Health information providers must periodically assess their services along the model’s benchmarks in order to achieve the highest possible levels of health literacy in their target populations and overall. Providers may engage in self-evaluation in order to gauge their own effectiveness, make improvements wherever necessary, and thereby ensure continued conformity to the aforementioned values. If/when these market players are unable or unwilling to adhere to this rubric, the public sphere may need to enforce it as a last resort. This paper does not investigate the merits of either public or private systems of governance; no matter how compliance is achieved, the modern promotion of optimal health literacy in minority communities (and hence, overall) requires that all three elements comprise a new, uniform model for online health communication initiatives.