Re-visiting the digital divide: Health information seeking in a pre-natal program in a minority urban health center
Version of Record online: 3 FEB 2011
Copyright © 2010 by American Society for Information Science and Technology
Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Volume 47, Issue 1, page 1, November/December 2010
How to Cite
Dalrymple, P., Zach, L. and Rogers, M. (2010), Re-visiting the digital divide: Health information seeking in a pre-natal program in a minority urban health center. Proc. Am. Soc. Info. Sci. Tech., 47: 1. doi: 10.1002/meet.14504701433
- Issue online: 3 FEB 2011
- Version of Record online: 3 FEB 2011
As digital technology permeates contemporary life, questions about the ways in which people access digital resources continue to be raised. As the Pew studies show, health information remains a topic frequently sought on the Internet, but few who seek health information check the credibility or authority of the information they find (http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2009/8-The-Social-Life-of-Health-Information.aspx). More important from a public health perspective, is that finding information—even good information—is not sufficient to change behavior (Elder, Ayala, & Harris, 1999; Elbel, Kersh, Brescoll, & Dixon, 2009).
With support from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Mid-Atlantic Region, the current research project seeks to understand more about the nature of health information seeking behavior among this population. We believe that the period of pregnancy is a “teachable moment” in the lives of these health center patients, and the short-term goal of the project is to study the effects of providing targeted text messages to this population related to their educational experiences in the Center's pre-natal program. The long-term goal of this research is to determine if receiving targeted messages encourages users to seek health information on the Internet and ultimately to make better health choices.
The study intervention augments an existing text messaging pre-natal program (text4baby) by adding one additional message per week that contains a link to a website selected for its relevance to the topics presented in the pre-natal group (Centering Pregnancy). Three separate pre-natal groups consisting of <10 pregnant women of approximately the same gestational stage are enrolled in the text messaging program. At monthly intervals the participants complete a brief questionnaire to determine whether they viewed the website, whether they recalled what it said, and whether they found that the information was useful. In addition, focus groups are being conducted to investigate the participants' attitudes toward seeking health information on the Internet and to determine ways in which the program could be improved. Preliminary results (months 1 through 4) of the study will be presented.
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