Health Behavior Change in a Digital Environment
The Power of the Digital World
When it comes to public health communications and social marketing campaigns, digital communication is an increasingly powerful influence that reaches across demographics, across borders, and beyond traditional spheres of influence. With over 2.8 billion Internet users, many professional communicators engaged in large-scale public health campaigns recognize the value of engaging audiences through digital media.
Digital communication connects people and ideas in organic ways, free of the boundaries of time, place, or position. Unlike any other time in history, people with differing perspectives, understandings, intents, information, and messages can interact together, often in real time, from almost any place.
The Impact of Digital Communication on Behavior Change
Behavior change is often the ultimate objective of health communication. We need to better understand how digital communication can affect what people accept, adopt, and act upon, and how they might influence others. The universal reach and access of digital communication demand that health communicators understand the complexities and relationships of all of its forms.
Core Questions for Health Communicators
AIR is focusing on core questions to explore the impact of digital communication on behavior change:
- Is there evidence that digital strategies, such as social media engagement, can affect online patient/consumer behavior?
- How can we measure the influence and impact of digital strategies on offline patient/consumer behavior?
- How can we use digital analytics and other research methods to understand the relationship of online and offline patient/consumer behavior?
- What issues of privacy and human subject research should we address, given the nature of personal health data?