Online Program

Improving planning of web-based community health interventions through human interaction and sense of community

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 9:10 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Adam Knowlden, CHES, MBA, MS, Ph.D., Department of Health Science, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Manoj Sharma, PhD, Health Promotion & Education, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Brad Wilson, PhD, Health Promotion and Education, The University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Randall Cottrell, DEd, MCHES, College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Sevices, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Marcus Johnson, PhD, Developmental and Learning Sciences, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Background: Participant convenience, flexibility, and privacy are frequently cited as benefits of Web-based community health interventions. Concomitantly, attrition rates are typically higher for such interventions, presumably due to less human interaction. To advance the feasibility and efficacy of Web-based interventions, it is necessary to identify determinants of program completion. Methods: A Web-based, pediatric obesity intervention designed for mothers was conducted. A process evaluation aggregate data form was developed to measure program fidelity and feasibility of the program. Data were collected at five intervals from program participants (n=50) by telephone over the course of an eight-week intervention. Process evaluation forms and telephone counseling scripts were assessed for face and content validity by a four-member panel of experts. Results: To assess program fidelity, participants were queried about navigability of the Web site and completion of program prescription. Responses were cross-validated against user information retrieved through data mining analysis. Participants answered a battery of questions related to program satisfaction and convenience, comprising evaluation of common Web-intervention modalities including video lectures, video tutorials, interactive worksheets, pod casts, wikis, and discussion forums. Conclusion: Web-based, community health interventions offer the potential to improve outcome measures, minimize overhead costs, foster program replication, and enable wide-scale intervention dissemination. Incorporation of human interaction through telephone counseling can increase perceived utility value of an intervention. Discussion boards that allow for user interaction can motivate behavior change. Internet-based interventions should incorporate mechanisms to instill a sense of community and human interaction to increase participant program commitment and decrease attrition rates.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Define the role of process evaluation in program planning. Describe strengths and weaknesses of Web-based community health interventions. Discuss role of human interaction and sense of community in reducing intervention attrition of technology-based community health interventions.

Keyword(s): Technology, Evaluation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conceptualized the study, developed the study criteria, collected the data, and analyzed the data.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.