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An Evidence-Based Approach

Introduction: Evaluation of IHC

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SciPICH Publications IconWired for Health and Well-Being: The Emergence of Interactive Health Communication

Editors: Thomas R. Eng, David H. Gustafson

Suggested Citation: Science Panel on Interactive Communication and Health. Wired for Health and Well-Being: the Emergence of Interactive Health Communication.  Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, US Government Printing Office, April 1999.

Download in PDF format:  [Entire Document] [References]


This is the report of the Science Panel on Interactive Communication and Health (the Panel) on the emerging field of interactive health communication (IHC). It is intended primarily for developers and users of applications, researchers, clinicians, public health professionals, and policymakers from both the public and private sectors. This report provides information and analyses about this field so that IHC stakeholders may be better able to make critical decisions about IHC—its development, use, purchase, evaluation, and policy environment.

The Panel aimed for a report that is educational but not overly technical, provocative but not overly speculative, and grounded in science but cognizant of "real-world" considerations. Because of the growing breadth and depth of IHC, the Panel was unable to address all the issues related to IHC within the confines of this document. Therefore, this report should not be considered a comprehensive review of the published literature in this field, and readers are encouraged to seek additional sources of information, such as the resources cited in this report. Because of the rapid advances in information and   communication technology and its evolving impact on health care and public health, the Panel was challenged to produce a report that would not be quickly outdated. New technologies for facilitating health communication will undoubtedly be utilized as they become available. However, the Panel anticipates that the central theme of this report—the need to focus on an evidence-based approach to IHC—will be relevant for many years to come regardless of the communication technologies and media employed.

In this report, the Panel concludes that, as with other complex health issues, a multifaceted approach is necessary to ensure that the potential of IHC to improve health is fully realized. The Panel’s recommendations pertain to many different stakeholders who comprise "the field" of IHC. The Panel hopes that its analyses and recommendations will help catalyze further discussions, initiatives, and partnerships around IHC that lead to a healthy future for all.

David H. Gustafson (Chair)
Thomas R. Eng (Study Director)


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Comments:   Updated: 05/01/08