Online Doesn't Mean on Target: Conference Evaluates Interactive Health Consumer Information

Support for the 3rd Annual Networked Consumer Health Information Conference

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services conducted the second and third of a series of national conferences called "Partnerships for Networked Consumer Health Information."

The conferences were held in 1996 and 1997 to explore consumer health information activities. The Internet and other interactive health communication applications were making consumer health information more readily available to consumers than at any time in history.

Interactive health communication applications had the potential to improve health, but they could also cause harm when used by consumers who lacked the skills and background to evaluate the quality and relevance of the information they obtained.

Key Results

  • The 1996 conference spotlighted model projects and technical breakthroughs and promoted creative partnerships in the public and private sectors. The 1997 conference, which launched the federal government's health information website that is focused on consumer health information evaluation.

    • The two conferences attracted growing numbers of public- and private-sector stakeholders.
    • The 1996 conference was uplinked live to six official sites and dozens of unofficial sites around the country, and the audience for the 1997 conference was extended to an additional 120 people who participated through a virtual conference online.
    • A report on consumer health information evaluation, Wired for Health and Well-Being: The Emergence of Interactive Health Communication, was published in 1999 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that expanded on issues raised at the 1997 Partnership conference.
    • Four articles on the evaluation of interactive health communications applications—based on issues raised in the 3rd Partnership conference—were published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 1999.

Most Requested