The Use of Digital Communication Channels to Enhance Environmental Health Literacy



There is tremendous potential to utilize new and emerging digital channels of communication to help raise public environmental health literacy. Modern society is in the midst of a communication revolution that is rapidly expanding public use of digital communication systems and tools for many goals and purposes. Yet, there is a plethora of complex, and sometimes contradictory, information concerning environmental health risks that consumers struggle to understand. Consumers additionally struggle with determining what are the most important environmental health risks to be aware of concerning health issues such as cancers and heart disease, and what can be done to avoid these health risks? This chapter examines the growth and influence of digital communication as channels for helping consumers access, evaluate, and utilize relevant health information concerning environmental health risks. Different digital communication channels and platforms are identified as potentially strong venues for disseminating important environmental health information. Guidelines for designing and implementing environmental health education messages are examined to promote the most effective use of digital communication channels to reach and influence intended audiences. Strategic design principles, such as enhancing system interactivity, interoperability, ease of use, immediacy, adaptability, accessibility, and cultural sensitivity are examined and applied to the dissemination of environmental health information. Strategies for working in close collaboration with representatives from key populations to promote user-centered design of health information systems is highlighted. Relevant theory and research concerning the applications of digital information technologies for health information dissemination are reviewed and applied to promoting environmental health literacy.


Health information technology ehealth Digital information systems mhealth Digital divide Usability Interactivity Tailored messaging Feedback systems User centered design 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.George Mason UniversityGaithersburgUSA
  2. 2.George Mason UniversityWestatUSA

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