Tailoring Health Messages: Customizing Communication with Computer Technology

Tailoring Health Messages: Customizing Communication with Computer Technology

Tailoring Health Messages: Customizing Communication with Computer Technology

Tailoring Health Messages: Customizing Communication with Computer Technology


Through the use of new technologies, researchers, and practitioners in health education and health communication can now provide health information and behavior change strategies that are customized based on the unique needs, interests, and concerns of different individuals. These tailored health messages can be highly effective in assisting individuals in understanding and responding to health concerns.

In this volume, Matthew Kreuter, David Farrell, and their colleagues define the process of tailoring and describe its uses in health communication programs. They present a theoretical and public health rationale for tailoring and support their position with empirical evidence. They also lay out the steps involved in creating and delivering tailored health communication programs, which can then be applied in practice. Practitioners, researchers, and students in health communication, health psychology, public health, and related areas will find this book to be a vital and invaluable resource for improving communication about health issues.


It is more than a pleasure, it is an honor to write the Foreword for Tailoring Health Messages. It has been obvious for some time that there is a great hunger among researchers, clinicians, and other health practitioners to learn about tailored health communications and to acquire the skills needed to produce them. But until now, the tools to enable greater dissemination have been lacking. Tailoring Health Messages fills an important void by providing a scholarly how-to resource that will be as valuable to researchers as it will be to practitioners. the book is incredibly readable. in fact, I was so fascinated that I read it in one sitting.

Tailored health communication is part of the larger field of health communication. Communication is central to effective, quality health care, from primary prevention to survivorship. Communication empowers people; it can raise awareness of health problems and recommended actions, and give people the health information they need to make informed decisions. the Science Panel on Interactive Communications and Health (Henderson, 1999) has concluded that few other health-related interventions have the potential of interactive health communications to simultaneously improve health outcomes, decrease health care costs, and enhance consumer satisfaction.

The communications environment is changing so dramatically that it has been called a communications revolution. Perhaps, the best example of this is the astronomical growth of the Internet. More than 40 million people now use the Internet for a variety of purposes, ranging from e-mail access to Medline and other library retrieval services, online support and delivery of personalized, individualized services. in the future, more and more health communication programs are likely to be delivered online.

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