The Role of Technology in Health Communication

Trends and Trajectories

Authored by: Ronald E. Rice , S. Shyam Sundar , Hyang-Sook Kim

The Routledge Handbook of Health Communication

Print publication date:  September  2021
Online publication date:  September  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367488956
eBook ISBN: 9781003043379
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter provides an overview of the role played by online digital media technologies in health communication. It describes research on the latest trends in the use of web-based electronic health and smartphone-based mobile health technologies and surveys a growing genre of ambient health technologies in the form of conversational agents, wearables, and games. Two key concepts underlying affordances of these technologies—interactivity and tailoring—are introduced next, followed by a discussion of theoretical and practical challenges posed by widespread source layering in networked media used for dissemination of health information and uneven credibility of Internet-based health information. Finally, the chapter notes inequities introduced by technology in privacy, quality of care, and access.

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