EVIDENCE-BASED SOLUTIONS TO FACILITATING DIGITAL HEALTH COMMUNICATION-GOLD STANDARD APPROACHES TO POLICY AND PRACTICE
Abstract - With the explosion of health information readily available online, most people have become dependent on those online platforms to meet their information needs. Reliable web-based health knowledge can change behavior, improve treatment adherence, reduce health risks, increase shared decision-making, and improve health outcomes. However, with various trustworthy and untrustworthy sources, concerns remain about the credibility of online health information. It is highly conceivable that imperfect information can harm patients/consumers and potentially significantly affect healthcare systems. Some harms include reduced health outcomes, increased anxiety, and tremendous resource waste. Many have proposed strategies to evaluate the quality of the information to address the lack of credibility of online health information, but with significant issues. Unfortunately, no one has developed a practical and patient-friendly method validated by patients and consumers. The primary objective of this research program is to develop gold-standard approaches for individuals and online health information providers. The specific methods used to develop the interventions are 1) systematic reviews, 2) content analysis, 3) focus groups, and 4) feasibility studies. This multi-phase project informed by theory has led to the creation of new knowledge to inform the development of patient-friendly quality benchmarks and policy frameworks. The interventions will inform best practices and policies in disseminating reliable web health information, thus reducing disparities in access to health knowledge and combating misinformation online. In addition, we envision the final products can be used as a gold standard for developing similar interventions for a specific context and patient populations.
Keywords - Digital Health, Health Information Seeking, Health Literacy, Reliability, Benchmark, Framework