Public Health Communication Technology: A Case Study in Michigan Long-Term Care Settings

Dr. Sarah J. Swierenga,
Dr. Lori A. Post,
Jounghwa Choi,
Dr. Constantinos K. Coursaris
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Research focusing on a technology based approach to health communication has primarily been limited to the study of individuals rather than communities even in the midst of a booming technology industry and subsequent research. The Information Communication Technology (ICT) which assists management of health or government agencies has rarely been discussed in the context of health communication at the organizational-societal level.

This paper focuses on how ICT implemented at the state level impacts public health effectiveness and efficiency. Michigan is one of seven states that received funding from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to participate in the legislatively mandated background check pilot program intended prevent abuse. Participation in this initiative will influence future United States federal policy designed to provide optimum services and support for the nation's most vulnerable citizens. Michigan’s Workforce Background Checks (MWBC) will serve as a model for other states that must implement a standardized multiple system process of background checks to prevent unfit persons from gaining access to vulnerable populations.

The MWBC project is examined as a case study that illustrates how ICT is essential for public health management by enhancing organizational level communication practices. The contribution of MWBC can be summarized in the following dimensions: (1) improving communication among organizations, (2) serving as an interactive decision support system, and (3) providing a better tool for public health practices.

Keywords: Public Health Communication, Information Communication Technology, Usability, Case Study, Long-term Care
Stream: Media and Communications
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Public Health Communication Technology

Dr. Sarah J. Swierenga

Director, Usability & Accessibility Center, Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI, USA

Sarah J. Swierenga, Ph.D., C.P.E. is the director of the Michigan State University Usability & Accessibility Center and Professor by Courtesy in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media. She is responsible for developing and disseminating innovations in theory building, research methodologies, and technologies to enhance usability and accessibility in Web and information technology contexts. The Center serves faculty, students, and organizations at MSU, as well as external clients, through consulting, collaborative research, educational programming, publications, and the sponsorship of open houses, workshops, and symposia. A researcher and a practitioner with 20 years of experience in the scientific study of users in commercial, military, and academic environments, Swierenga possesses extensive skills in user interface design, data collection tools, and methodologies including usability tests, accessibility compliance evaluations, questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, and expert evaluations. Swierenga co-authored Constructing Accessible Web Sites (APress, 2003), and has presented widely on accessible website design, usability techniques, health communication technology, and e-learning effectiveness, which comprise her research programs. She is also a Certified Professional Ergonomist (C.P.E.).

Dr. Lori A. Post

Assistant Dean for Research, College of Communication Arts & Sciences, Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI, USA

Dr. Post is Assistant Dean for Research in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and Assistant Professor in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media at Michigan State University. She is interested in the use of technology for violence prevention.

Jounghwa Choi

Research Assistant, Department of Advertising, Public Relations, and Retailing, Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI, USA

Dr. Constantinos K. Coursaris

Assistant Professor, Department of Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media, Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI, USA

Ref: I06P0297