141st APHA Annual Meeting

In This section

3382.0
Medical Decision Making and Risk Communication in the Era of Web 2.0

Monday, November 4, 2013: 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Oral
How do patients and the general public make medical decisions about disease screenings and immunizations, in the light of conflicting expert recommendations and studies, and with news headlines featuring emotional stories that magnify personal risk and side-effects? Based on Pew Research Centerís findings, 80% of Internet users go online to research their health, which is giving patients (and guardians of children), a greater voice in making medical decisions with their doctors. The Internet plays a large role in disseminating anti-vaccination information, as well as news stories, websites and blogs that present conflicting data and health promotion messages about mammography screening guidelines. Models of vaccine decisions were presented at a conference in University of Erfurt, Germany (2012), where scientists examined the implications of the Internet and social media on public health messages about vaccination. When comparing parents who did not use the Internet for vaccine information, to those who searched for vaccine information online, parents who searched online were more likely to have lower perceptions of vaccine safety, effectiveness and disease susceptibility. Decision-making experts contended that anti-vaccination messages tell a compelling story compared with official resources; meet peopleís need to understand rare adverse outcomes. It has been four years since a US government panel released mammography recommendations (2009), questioning decades of advice that women over 40 should be screened for breast cancer. The revision sparked a controversy in the medical world, and made news headlines featuring conflicting screening recommendations, impacting medical decision making between patients and providers alike.
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Organized by: Public Health Education and Health Promotion