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Extreme Digital Health Communication: CommunicateHealth Reports From DHCX

At CommunicateHealth, we believe that digital health communication is an important piece of the health communication puzzle. So we’re excited to bring you a few highlights from sessions at the Digital Health Communication Extravaganza, where we’ve been soaking up some of the very latest innovations on the topic. It’s only Day One, and we’ve already got plenty to share.

Social Media Metrics

Scott Shamp, Craig Lefevbre, and Jay Bernhardt gave some great insights into social media metrics:

  • Social media is a conversation — not a one-way message. We need to find metrics that measure those conversations.
  • While in-depth research takes time and planning, it helps us understand the history of social media activities. We can ask questions. What worked? What didn’t? We don’t always have to be in the “now” of the media stream; taking a moment to look back is important, too.

And we think they’re asking exactly the right questions:

  • How do we balance the need for planning and protocols (especially in government work) with the importance of fast deployment and flexible evaluation of social media?
  • How can we use social media to get people to take action regarding their health?

What’s Next for Social Media?

Scott Shamp, Amelia Burke, and Craig Lefebvre led a great session on what’s up next for social media. We’ll have our eye on:

  • CDC’s effort to change attitudes about vaccination through live Meetups — a great example of using online communities to get real behavior change.

And some food for thought:

  • What are the implications of frictionless sharing for health information seekers, which can obviously be very personal. Do our Facebook friends need to know what kind of health information we’re looking for?

Inspiration and Strategies for Digital Health Communication

Kathy Crosby of the FDA, Sue Lucas, and Jonathan Cho helped us find some inspiration and strategies for digital health communication. Two key points:

  • Medical organizations are shifting from a “patient” to a “consumer” orientation. While this certainly presents new challenges, can we frame it as an opportunity instead?
  • We need to remember that health care providers need easy-to-use tools, too. Both patients and doctors face usability issues.

We also learned of a new initiative from a TEDMED and NCI partnership: cdhw.ideascale.com. Check it out — we’ll be doing the same.

Mobile Health: Flexible and Future-Proof Solutions

The discussion of mobile health led by Larry King and Rich Panzer included some pretty staggering facts:

  • Mobile devices will outnumber humans in 2012.
  • In a few years, 1 billion HTML 5-enabled phones will be in use.

So what are the implications for health communication? Will web tools dominate apps? Good questions.

They also spoke on responsive web design, which adjusts what’s displayed on-screen depending on the device being used. As believers in user-centered design, that got folks thinking:

  • What about responsive web design that also reacts and adapts to the user (e.g., more search scaffolding tools for new users)?
  • How do we write and produce responsive and flexible content to facilitate responsive and flexible design?

And From Communicatehealth: Day One’s Poll Results

We asked attendees: Have you searched for health information on your phone this week? The results? 58% said yes!

Sandy Hilfiker shared research and findings on Health Literacy in a Digital Landscape in her poster presentation.

With lots more great speakers to go, we’re looking forward to Day Two.


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