How is health literacy addressed in primary care?
GPs’ understanding of health literacy in their patients was explored by researchers in a qualitative study published in the Journal of Communication in Healthcare.
Results from the semi-structured interviews suggested there were a number of barriers which prevented improving patients’ health literacy within primary care. A focus around the importance of health literacy, both at an education and clinical level is needed.
An evaluation of the ‘protect their future’ video intervention on parents’ intentions to immunize adolescents
In a randomised controlled trial published in the Journal of Communication in Healthcare researchers investigated the impact of a video-based intervention on parents’ attitudes towards adolescent immunisation.
Results from this study revealed the importance of ‘immunisation-specific’ communication as parents’ intentions to immunise were significantly more likely in their daughters, with regards to the HPV vaccine, despite the gender-neutral communications delivered on the importance of the vaccine for both sexes.
The full article is available here.
The land of rising science communication: the first Japan SCICOM forum
A 2018 Tokyo conference review published in the Journal of Science Communication discussed the increasing demand and requirement for English-based science communication in both Japan and the Asia regions.
The review highlights the importance of the network SCICOM in helping to overcome the inter-related issues of Japan’s limited visibility on the global science stage as well as the low levels of English competency across the nation.
See something, say something
A study published in the Journal of Health Communication investigated the idea that social media, whilst demonised for the spread of misinformation, could also potentially act as a medium for misinformation correction.
To investigate this idea, the theory that genetically modified mosquitos were responsible for the outbreak of the Zika virus (a scientific consensus of misinformation) was explored. Results demonstrated that correcting misinformation can be equally effective through both correct news feed postings from algorithms as well as correct news feed postings by everyday Facebook users. This result was irrespective of the conspiracy belief level of individuals.
Weaponised health communication
Promotion of online health content between Twitter ‘bots’ (software that can automatically generate content) and Russian Trolls (someone who misrepresents themselves to spread disparity) was investigated in a study published by the American Journal of Health Promotion.
In this study three years’ of vaccine-relevant messages were analysed and compared between ‘average users’ and bots and trolls. Results showed higher rates of vaccination tweets were recorded by trolls and bots compared with average users. More specifically – bots were found to spread more anti-vaccination messages, whilst trolls were found to represent both sides of the vaccine debate, creating a false arena of public debate.
The effects of repetitive information communication
During a public health crisis, individuals seek information repeatedly via numerous communication sources in an attempt to be updated and informed.
In a study published by the Journal of Health Communication data from 1,036 online surveys were analysed to explore the 2015 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak in South Korea and the impact this had on risk-prevention behaviour via the concept of ‘repetitive information communication through multiple channels’ (RICMC). Results showed that those individuals who engaged in RICMC were more likely to exhibit MERS-prevention behaviours.
A no-conflict approach to science education
Climate change and evolution are topics that are well-established scientifically; however they remain a contentious debate.
A study published by the Journal of Science Communication investigated the impact of offering free and informal science activities focused around climate change and evolution, in a pilot programme run by the National Centre for Science Educators (NCSE). The programme ran over 15 months across two centres, educating 70,000 participants. Results showed a significant increase in community engagement which was associated with increased rates of science literacy.
Consumer perceptions of social media use for health purposes: benefits and drawbacks
A study published in the Health Informatics Journal explored both the advantages and disadvantages of using social media for health-related purposes in individuals suffering from chronic disease.
The study consisted of five focus groups aimed at understanding the benefits and drawbacks these individuals experienced by using a social media platform to engage with similar individuals also suffering from chronic disease.
Whilst there were some drawbacks reported in the focus groups, generally individuals found benefits in using social media for health-related purposes which included; feeling supported and empowered, the ease and convenience of using social media, as well as feeling educated about their condition.
Calories in context: conceptual metaphors and consumers’ perception and use of calorie information
Recently the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated the nutrition fact label to promote the term ‘calories’ over other nutrients on the nutrition information.
To understand what impact this had on consumer thoughts and behaviour, a qualitative study, published in the Journal of Health Communication conducted in-depth interviews to investigate metaphors used to drive consumer thoughts on calorie information and subsequent consumption behaviour.
Results showed a range of metaphors were used by consumers to describe their perceptions on calories. Furthermore, the metaphors differed depending on the diet beliefs of that individual.
Impact of message framing and social distance in health campaign for promoting regular physical exercise
A study published in the Journal of Health Communication investigated the impact of either a gain-framed (positive outcome) or loss-framed (negative outcome) message in a campaign promoting exercise. Results showed those who read gain-framed messages had an increased level of behaviour intention compared to those who read the loss-framed messages.