36582 Decoding the Black Box: A Strategic Approach to Determine How Online/Offline Engagement Impacts Health Behavior

Galen Cole, PhD, MPH, LPC, DAPA, Health and Social Development Program, American Institutes for Research (AIR), Washington, DC

Theoretical Background and research questions/hypothesis: A new conceptual model, titled the AIR Health Behavior Engagement Model, will be introduced and discussed as one way of thinking of the inter-relationship of online and offline communication and its effect on knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and resulting interactions. This conceptual model demonstrates how individuals engage with their online and offline environment, and allows practitioners to strategically map, implement, and evaluate campaign elements to target specific influences on health behavior. The primary questions that will be addressed in the panel are: How can we draw from private sector innovations in digital communication and apply them to health communication and marketing campaigns or other outreach and dissemination programs? How can we more accurately measure the impact of this work on actual behavior? What are the special considerations for public health communicators as we move forward?

Methods and Results (informing the conceptual analysis): Interviews conducted with a panel of experts will provide evidence for the process of how health communicators have necessarily transitioned from broadcast media monologues to social media dialogues. Interviews which were conducted informed the development and application of the AIR Health Behavior Engagement Model. This conceptual model diagrammatically illustrates how health communicators can develop a comprehensively based and systematically delivered approach to following an individual’s journey from the point of exposure to online and offline campaign messages to full engagement with these messages, including adopting and maintaining recommended health behaviors.

Conclusions: This model decodes the “black box” between the communication mix and the intended short-, medium- and long-term online and offline effects of the online interventions.

Implications for research and/or practice: The application of the AIR Health Behavior Engagement Model  allows health communicators to strategically plan a more dynamic and integrated online and offline health behavior campaign. This will be demonstrated in the context of smoking cessation, where the model will help a health communication professional track initial exposure to an article about smoking cessation, clicks on a link with more information, evidence of reading a product review or blog post, searcher for a store that sells a relevant product, point of sale engagement with a pharmacist via use of a coupon, use of the product, and communication with friends through online blog posts, and finally the use of a mobile App that documents days of non-smoking.