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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Kathleen M Hunter, PhD, MS, RN (Walden University)
Description: This is a timely discussion of using new information technologies and media for communicating diverse health information to diverse audiences. The book begins by updating readers on the status and trends in health communication on a global scale, including the status of world health, emerging demographics, and trends in healthcare worldwide, as well as trends in health communication and media. The new media landscape is digital and changing constantly, requiring strategies for selecting the best media, learning to use the chosen medium, and helping health information consumers learn to optimize their use of these media. The last third of the book attempts to look into the future, addressing knowledge translation, evidence-based messages, envisioned international communication innovations, and how this new media landscape might affect healthcare around the world. The book uses tables and figures well, without being excessive. Chapters are of a reasonable length, with easily digested sections, and robust, contemporary resources. One noticeable negative of this book is the lack of registered nurses in the collection of contributors and the content. Registered nurses engage in health communications with healthcare consumers at all levels of health and illness, in diverse healthcare settings, and in myriad communities around the world. The absence of registered nurses as authors in this book indicates a lack of knowledge about healthcare professionals who engage in health knowledge communications.
Purpose: The editors intend this book to summarize the state of knowledge on how people interact with present and emerging communication systems. The focus is on communication of health information to the public, health consumers, and health professionals. The impact of communicated health information on individual and population health behaviors, healthcare providers, and health policy is a specific concern. The editors make an evidence-based, convincing argument for readers working with formal, planned health knowledge communication.
Audience: The editors refer to health professionals as their audience in the preface. This book is appropriate for practicing health professionals, not students, in any domain or discipline and for professionals involved with communication media of all types. Both editors have practice and research expertise supporting the idea, design, and development of this edited book.
Features: The book begins by setting a baseline of what we know today about health communications - the who, what, why, and how of disseminating health knowledge to individuals and to populations. Different authors present various perspectives on the concept of a new media landscape. The third section presents a variety of discussions on multiple possible directions for both the short-term and long-term future. Reader-friendly features include an easy-to-read font, simple headings within chapters, and understandable figures and tables. The third section not only attempts to predict directions for communications but provides useful pointers, guides, and suggestions for improving the effective use of various communication technologies. A significant gap in this otherwise useful and timely book is the absence of content by and about nurses and nursing involvement in health communications. This gap results in a solely medical focus on dissemination of health (illness-focused) knowledge.
Assessment: This book is useful, readable, current, well organized, and seems to be a unique contribution. The information presented here would be difficult and time consuming to gather on one's own. The compiled guidance for health professionals and communication professionals could facilitate more, and more effective, use of current and future communication technologies and practices.