Evaluation of IHC
Consumers & IHC
Policy Issues Relevant
Providers, Purchasers & IHC
An Evidence-Based Approach to
Interactive Health Communication: A Challenge to Medicine in the Information Age
Authors: Thomas N. Robinson, MD, MPH; Kevin Patrick, MD, MS; Thomas R. Eng, VMD, MPH; and David Gustafson, PhD; for the Science Panel on Interactive Communication and Health
Citation: An Evidence-Based Approach to Interactive Health
Communication: A Challenge to Medicine in the Information Age. The Journal of the American
Medical Association, October 14, 1998; Vol. 280:1264-1269
text article available
To examine the current status of interactive health communication (IHC) and
propose evidence-based approaches to improve the quality of such applications.
The Science Panel on Interactive Communication and Health, a 14-member, nonfederal panel
with expertise in clinical medicine and nursing, public health, media and instructional
design, health systems engineering, decision sciences, computer and communication
technologies, and health communication, convened by the Office of Disease Prevention and
Health Promotion, US Department of Health and Human Services.
Published studies, online resources, expert panel opinions, and opinions from
outside experts in fields related to IHC.
- Consensus Process
The panel met 9 times during more than 2 years. Government agencies and
private-sector experts provided review and feedback on the panel's work.
Interactive health communication applications have great potential to improve
health, but they may also cause harm. To date, few applications have been adequately
evaluated. Physicians and other health professionals should promote and participate in an
evidence-based approach to the development and diffusion of IHC applications and endorse
efforts to rigorously evaluate the safety, quality, and utility of these resources. A
standardized reporting template is proposed to help developers and evaluators of IHC
applications conduct evaluations and disclose their results and to help clinicians,
purchasers, and consumers judge the quality of IHC applications.