Health communication is defined as communication methods and strategies used to inform individuals about health care facts and best practices, with the aim of improving patient health outcomes and enriching personal and community behaviors and public health practices.
Health communication includes verbal and written strategies to influence and empower individuals, populations, and communities to make healthier choices. Health communication is meant to promote positive changes in attitudes and behaviors. Health communication is related to social marketing, which involves the development of activities and interventions designed to positively change behaviors.
Using a variety of communication channels can allow health messages to shape mass media or interpersonal, small group, or community level campaigns. Health communication strategies aim to change people’s knowledge, attitudes, and/or behaviors; for example:
Examples of media strategies to convey health messages include the following components:
Considerations for Implementation
When designing health communication or social marketing strategies, it is important to consider the overall communication goals of the intervention. It is also necessary to understand the target population so that the content created is relevant to the target population. It is important to tailor messages to the communication channel being used. Further, using multiple communication and media strategies will ensure a broader reach. It is also important to ensure that the target population has access to the communication channels being used.