Monday, April 14, 2014

Readability, Suitability, and Health Content Assessment of Web-Based Patient Education Materials On Colorectal Cancer Screening

A week or two ago a new study came out in that I really had a good time working on.  It is Readability, Suitability, and Health Content Assessment of Web-Based Patient Education Materials On Colorectal Cancer Screening, which is at the journal Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. The abstract for the article is:
BACKGROUND:
Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening rates in the Unites States are still below target level. Web-based patient education materials are used by patients and providers to provide supplemental information on CRC screening. Low literacy levels and patient perceptions are significant barriers to screening. There are little data on the quality of these online materials from a health literacy standpoint or whether they address patients' perceptions.
OBJECTIVE:
To evaluate the readability, suitability, and health content of web-based patient education materials on colon cancer screening.
DESIGN:
Descriptive study.
SETTING:
Web-based patient materials.
INTERVENTIONS:
Twelve reputable and popular online patient education materials were evaluated. Readability was measured by using the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Grade Level, and suitability was determined by the Suitability Assessment of Materials, a scale that considers characteristics such as content, graphics, layout/typography, and learning stimulation. Health content was evaluated within the framework of the Health Belief Model, a behavioral model that relates patients' perceptions of susceptibility to disease, severity, and benefits and barriers to their medical decisions. Each material was scored independently by 3 reviewers.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS:
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Grade Level score, Suitability Assessment of Materials score, health content score.
RESULTS:
Readability for 10 of 12 materials surpassed the maximum recommended sixth-grade reading level. Five were 10th grade level and above. Only 1 of 12 materials received a superior suitability score; 3 materials received inadequate scores. Health content analysis revealed that only 50% of the resources discussed CRC risk in the general population and < 25% specifically addressed patients at high risk, such as African Americans, smokers, patients with diabetes, and obese patients. For perceived barriers to screening, only 8.3% of resources discussed embarrassment, 25% discussed pain with colonoscopy, 25% addressed cost of colonoscopy, and none specifically mentioned the need to get colonoscopy when no symptoms are present. No material discussed the social benefits of screening.
LIMITATIONS:
Descriptive design.
CONCLUSION:
Most online patient education materials for CRC screening are written beyond the recommended sixth-grade reading level, with suboptimal suitability. Health content is lacking in addressing key perceived risks, barriers, and benefits to CRC screening. Developing more appropriate and targeted patient education resources on CRC may improve patient understanding and promote screening.
One of the things I liked about this project was that it went beyond "just" literacy/reading assessment to use a theoretical model (in this case the Health Belief Model) to provide a richer picture of what materials like this are doing well and what could be improved.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

How to Get Published in Health Communication

A few weeks ago Teri Thompson gave a lecture at UT, and she really oriented it toward grad students in the audience.  It had a lot of great content for everyone, though.  For anyone interested, the presentation is now up on YouTube.  Enjoy!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The University of Texas at Austin: Health Communication Scholars Program

I've written previously about a program I got started this year at UT which helps fund grad student-led research in health communication.  The Moody College of Communication just posted a feature story about the program, including descriptions of the four funded projects.  You can read the story here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

IJPHM 2013 Highly Commended Paper: Pharmaceutical advertising practitioners' approach to trust and emotion

I got an e-mail today from the International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing (IJPHM) that an article I'm a co-author on was selected by the editorial team as a Highly Commended Paper of 2013. The article, "Pharmaceutical advertising practitioners' approach to trust and emotion," is lead authored by Jennifer Ball.

I'm really excited about the recognition of this article, as it's a project I really enjoyed.  And Jennifer did a great job leading this look at how the ad professionals thought about trust and emotion in the DTC prescription drug advertising context.

The paper is available on the IJPHM website here.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Boosting Healthy Heart Employer-Sponsored Health Dissemination Efforts: Identification and Information-Sharing Intentions

An article I'm a co-author on is now available at Health Communication. The article, "Boosting Healthy Heart Employer-Sponsored Health Dissemination Efforts: Identification and Information-Sharing Intentions," was a great partnership between academics and medical practitioners that met the needs of everyone involved.

The abstract is:
Health information dissemination options have expanded to include workplaces and employer-sponsored efforts. This study focuses on a core relational concept found in workplaces, organizational identification—the feeling of belongingness—and the impact of partnering with employers and health clinics in health information dissemination. We use social-identity theory and multiple identification to test our predictions from a sample of working adults representing more than 100 different employers. We found that when people strongly identify with their employer, they have increased health behavioral intentions and they intend to talk about the health information with coworkers. The significant models explain more than 50% and 30% of the variance in these two outcomes. The experimental results examining single and multiple organizational sources revealed no differences on any outcomes. These findings offer a contribution to health information dissemination research by articulating how identification with an employer functions to affect behavioral intentions.
The article is up on the Health Communication website here.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Teri Thompson - "There and Back Again: Directions in Health Communication Research"

The UT Moody College of Communication was lucky enough to have Teri Thompson, editor of Health Communication, speak this past Thursday and give the McGovern Lecture in Health Communication.  While she geared her presentation to grad students in attendance, all of her advice and thoughts were relevant to faculty and others in attendance, too.  I wanted to share a few of the things that jumped out at me, as the chance to hear from the editor of a journal like Health Communication is a rare opportunity.

In no particular order...

The title ("There and Back Again") was a reference to Tolkien.  I had no idea I shared Tolkien fandom with Teri.  I just loved this a component of her title.  (More on titles below.)

Teri framed the entire talk around her own interests, research, and career.  A lot of what she had to say resonated with most in the audience, I think, as she talked about personal interests related to health being a major factor in her interest in health communication research.  I fell into health communication as an interest area by accident - Pam Whitten hired me as a grad student at MSU to work on her projects, and I fell in love with health communication through working with her.

She talked about influential others, including journal editors, publishers, senior scholars, and graduate students. One point she made, which I totally agreed with, is how as faculty the interests of our graduate students shape our own work.  I work with a lot of talented doctoral students, and their research interests have changed how I think about my own work and the research questions I want to pursue.

When talking about revising articles for journals, she hit on two things that many might think about but (1) it never hurts to be reminded and (2) sometimes we're probably better at in theory than in practice.  First, she explained that the response to reviewers document is every bit as important as the revisions themselves; and be careful not to offend the reviewers while writing in that document!  Second, you can't be defensive in responding to reviewer comments; she put it as "cry and then move on."

Teri made a great point about methodological and statistical sophistication, but pointed out that it's more important to use APPROPRIATE (her caps!) methods and stats.

She spent some time talking about how to title articles to get cited.  Among her tips:

  • Don't use esoteric terms
  • Look at the key terms used by highly successful scholars
  • Remember that those outside the field use terms like "communication" when searching for relevant literature
As an editor, she advocates looking at reviewing as mentoring/nurturing.  The idea shouldn't be to just sort articles into "good" and "bad," but to help authors produce better work. Don't reject articles for reasons that aren't fatal flaws. Be constructive in your comments. Scholarship is a community effort, so reviewing and giving back to the field is an important part of being a successful and respected scholar.

Teri's entire visit was fantastic, as she took the time to meet with graduate students and faculty before giving her talk in the afternoon.  The more I work with Teri, the more I learn from her - as an author, reviewer, and editor.  As a field, health communication scholars couldn't ask for a better person to lead a journal like Health Communication

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

No More Formaldehyde Baby Shampoo

I'm quoted in this article that was posted to Slate about chemophobia: No More Formaldehyde Baby Shampoo.  It's an interesting piece, and the fact that people latch on to potentially incorrect information is only confirmed (yet again) by the new study looking at the challenge of promoting vaccines to parents (published here in Pediatrics).

Really I just think it's cool to be quoted in the Slate article, so I wanted to share.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Funding Grad Student Health Communication Research

I believe I posted about this at some point, but UT gave me funding to improve teaching and learning on campus.  My first idea was to create a program to teach students how to work on interdisciplinary teams and compete for grant funding.  The Health Communication Scholars Program fielded eight proposals, and I was able to fund three in this first cycle.  I have a fourth team pending partial funding of their proposal, too.  All I can say is that it was a very, very fun week - giving money to hard working grad student teams who came up with some great ideas.

I'll write more about this at some point, but for now I'll just say it was a wonderful day and the students were extremely to get their funding!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Emerging from Radio Silence (aka, Excessive Amounts of Grading)

So I went quiet for a while, mainly because I was stuck under a pile of grading.  The projects I was grading were really fun and relevant for this blog, though, as I had 80 advertising students tackling various health promotion problems.

Three sets of teams were doing campus-based health promotion - flu shots, discouraging prescription painkiller abuse, and an informational campaign around e-cigarettes.  The campus health promotion office picks the topics, and the students make advertising recommendations that have high potential to see use at UT.  In previous semesters there has been a lot of translation of the students' ideas into actual use on campus, which is great for the campus health promotion office and amazing for those students.

The fourth set of teams did work on a statewide campaign to promote long-acting reversible contraception.  It was a very different kind of project, but they did a good job with it.

I have something major coming up in a couple days which is going to be the topic of a post, so for now I'll just say I'm glad to be coming back out from that pile of grading.  (I technically have another pile, but I'm trying not to think about it.)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Call for Abstracts: Seventh Annual National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media (August 19 -21, 2014)

I've never gone to this conference, but I certainly intend to at some point.  Everyone I've ever talked to who has attended has really enjoyed it a great deal.  For those interested, more info is on the conference website here.

*       *       *       *      *     *

You are invited to submit abstracts and panel proposals for the 2014 National Conference on Health Communications, Marketing, and Media (NCHCMM).  Submissions focusing on the areas of health communication, social marketing, media, partnerships, public health policy communication, and other topic areas that relate to the multi-disciplinary nature of this conference are sought.

In 2014, the conference tracks remain the same as those in 2013:  “To Explore Innovative Communication Tools and Technologies”, “To Advance Science”, “To Improve Practice”, and “To Bridge Divides”.  Learn about the topics of primary interest for each of the conference tracks in the descriptions detailed below.

The Conference Planning Committee invites abstracts for single-presenter oral and poster presentations.  Also, proposals for thematic panel sessions are invited.  A broad spectrum of submissions is encouraged including works that address specific issues and approaches such as research and evaluation, theory/model development, and practice/program-based foci.

Deadline for abstract submissions is Sunday, March 16, 2014.