- September 2003. Health Literacy: Electronic Communications. Pam Whitten (PI), Brian Winn (Michigan Department of Community Health), $143,000. Research/Creative Proposal. Funded Oct 1, 2003-Sept 30, 2004.
- May 2003. Ensuring Low-Literate Adult Access to Online Health Information: Development of a Research Design. Pam Whitten (PI), $99,857. Research Proposal. Not funded.
- December 2002. Ensuring Low Literate Adult Access to Online Health Information. Pam Whitten (PI), Brian Winn (Michigan Department of Community Health), $50,000. Research/Creative Proposal. Funded Jan 1, 2003-Sept 30, 2003.
Authors: PI: Pamela Whitten, Co-PI: Brian Winn
Health e-technologies hold great promise to improve patient outcomes and lower health care costs. However, it is a recognized problem that literacy deficits and poor health are correlated. If online health content is to reach its potential, methods must be determined for developing websites that can be used effectively by millions of low-literate Americans. In this new era of e-health, researchers and practitioners must reach a better understanding of how various population segments obtain, use, interpret, and retain online health information. Typically, researchers have focused on subpopulations defined by traditional demographic traits such as race, gender, and age. New research has shown that such work may be focusing on demographic variables that are actually not strong predictors of health status. This project proposes that adults with low literacy levels are a segment of the population in great need of study. This population of adults is in danger of falling behind the general population as more and more health information moves online.
This project developed a website, called "Diabetes and You", designed to deliver general diabetes content to low literate adults. The website was specifically designed to inform the general population about diabetes. It includes six topic areas. One unique tool on this webpage is an interactive survey that assesses a user’s risk for diabetes based on data provided for questions regarding risk factors (weight, race, etc.).
Funding for the development and ongoing evaluation for this project comes from a Medicaid grant from the Michigan Department of Community Health.
Project URL: http://commtechlab.msu.edu/sites/diabetesandyou/
Peer Reviewed Published Articles:
- Whitten, P. Buis, L., Love, B., & Mackert, M. (2008). Health education online for individuals with low health literacy: Evaluation of the Diabetes and You website. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 26(1): 77-88.
Peer Reviewed Published Abstracts:
- Whitten, P., Mackert, M., Love, B., and Winn, B. Internet Generation by Disparities: Ensuring Low-Literate Adult Access to Online Health Information. International and Interdisciplinary Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers, 2005. Abstract in Proceedings.
Peer Reviewed Conference Papers and Posters:
- Whitten, P., Winn, B., Nakagawa, A., Mackert, M., and Love, B. Diabetes and You: Designing a Website to Deliver Diabetes Information to Low-Literate Adults. Presented at the 2005 National Communication Association National Convention in Boston, MA, November, 2005.
- Whitten, P., Winn, B., Nakagawa, A., Mackert, M., and Love, B. (2005) Low-Literate Adult Access to Internet Health Content: A Research Design. Presented at Michigan’s Premier Public Health Conference in Grand Rapids, MI, October, 2005.
- Whitten, P., Mackert, M., Love, B. & Winn, B. (2005). Internet Generation by Disparities: Ensuring Low-Literate Adult Access to Online Health Information. Presented at the Association of Internet Researchers in Chicago, October, October 5-9, 2005.
- Whitten, P., Winn, B., Chen, H., Nakagawa, A., Mackert, M., Love, B. Diabetes and You: Designing a Website to Deliver Diabetes Information to Low-Literate Adults. Usability and Accessibility Conference, East Lansing, MI. Poster presentation on October 26, 2004.
Invited Conference Presentations:
- Winn, B., Whitten, P. Techniques for Designing User-Friendly and Informative Websites. Presented at the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Center Conference in East Lansing, MI, November, 8, 2005.