JMIR Public Health and Surveillance

Jennifer A Manganello; Gena Gerstner; Kristen Pergolino; Yvonne Graham;  David Strogatz*


Background: Many state and local health departments, as well as community organizations, have been using new technologies to disseminate health information to targeted populations. Yet little data exist that show access and use patterns, as well as preferences for receiving health information, at the state level.
Objective: This study was designed to obtain information about media and technology use, and health information seeking patterns, from a sample of New York State (NYS) residents.
Methods: A cross-sectional telephone survey (with mobile phones and landlines) was developed to assess media and technology access, use patterns, and preferences for receiving health information among a sample of 1350 residents in NYS. The survey used random digit dialing methodology. A weighted analysis was conducted utilizing Stata/SE software.
Results: Data suggest that NYS residents have a high level of computer and Internet use; 82% have at least one working computer at home, and 85% use the Internet at least sometimes. Mobile phone use is also high; 90% indicated having a mobile phone, and of those 63% have a smartphone. When asked about preferences for receiving health information from an organization, many people preferred websites (49%); preferences for other sources varied by demographic characteristics.
Conclusions: Findings suggest that the Internet and other technologies are viable ways to reach NYS residents, but agencies and organizations should still consider using traditional methods of communication in some cases, and determine appropriate channels based on the population of interest.

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* Denotes CSDA Associates and Staff