Performance Improvement 2006. Understanding Our Users: How to Better Deliver Health Information Online to American Indians and Alaska Natives

01/01/2006

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) conducted this qualitative study to build user-focused Web sites. This report presents findings from September 2002 using research conducted to better understand American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) online health information seekers. ODPHP seeks to provide reliable health information for a variety of audiences through  http://www.healthfinder.gov/. Launched in 1997, www.healthfinder.gov is a portal site, linking the general public to quality health information resources. Known for being user friendly,  http://www.healthfinder.gov/is continuously evaluated by its users through interviews, usability tests, online comments, and expert reviews. In fall 2002, ODPHP focused on expanding resources for AIAN populations. Some goals of the study were to (1) Assess the range of health-information-seeking behaviors in the AIAN population by identifying who their authoritative information sources are and discover when they would use health information; (2) To identify tasks that AIAN individuals want to accomplish on a health information Web site; (3) To understand how healthfinder® can best serve the AIAN population; (4) To investigate the overall usability of healthfinder®. According to the results of each goal, it was found that all AIAN interviewees had used computers before, although their skills varied. Intermediaries were asked the question, “How can healthfinder® best serve AIAN populations?” Most respondents were very pleased that ODPHP was conducting these interviews. Face-to-face contact is extremely important when working with AIAN communities. It shows commitment and builds trust.

Web quality is judged by the ease with which diverse users enter the electronic environment and accomplish their goals. Various strategies (such as Advisory/Review boards) should be examined for reviewing the content of health-related Web sites to ensure that it provides these populations with the information they need.

PIC ID: 7823; Agency Sponsor: OPHS-ODPHP, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion; Federal Contact: Hsu, Leslie, 202-401-0732; Performer: Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Washington, DC

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