Dr. Mia Lustria and consumer health informatics

Dr. Mia Lustria’s  presentation on “Research Perspectives in Consumer Health Informatics and Measurement Issues” reviewed:

What is consumer health informatics?

  • “The branch of medical informatics that analyses consumers’ needs for information; studies and implements methods of making information accessible to consumers; and models and integrates consumers’ preferences into medical information systems”
  • Example: The Wellness Community
  • Interdisciplinary field — draws from a variety of fields, and not just technology

Rationale for consumer health informatics

  • Shift in emphasis from disease and treatment to health and wellness
  • 80% of Americans have searched the Internet for health info

Characteristics of interactive technologies

  • Messages can be both widely disseminated yet personalized
  • Important attributes: multimodality and sensory vividness (example: ReMission — online game for young cancer patients); networkability and interactivity — building community and ability to get immediate feedback from experts; temporal flexibility — control the timing of your interactions; message tailoring capabilities — reach narrowly defined audiences and do so according to individual characteristics, which improves engagement
  • But interactive technologies were at times superior and sometimes no better than other media

Measurement issues

  • Not just reach but actually changing behavior
  • Access issues — tested with literate populations; maybe not reaching people who need the most help
  • Sometimes poorly designed, not linked with theory
  • Measuring program engagement and outcomes, including engagement with the content; relatively low rate of long-term engagement in many Web-based programs; figure out what works and what doesn’t
  • Using direct and unobtrusive methods (page visits, time on page, etc.), but those are not always easy; therefore oftentimes resort to online surveys, which rely on self-reported data. It’s difficult to assess behavioral and clinical outcomes.

Addition: Here are Dr. Lustria’s slides.


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