Visualization of Consumer Health Information

Project: Research project

Grant Details


DESCRIPTION: Research indicates that the text on many popular web sites is difficult to understand and consumers find that reading documents in electronic format is problematic. Since health information read online influences the patient-doctor relationship - e.g., treatments requested, or perceived patient value from a doctor's visit - it is important that this information be interpreted and remembered as completely and correctly as possible. Misunderstandings in health information may increase the risk of making unwise health decisions, which could lead to poorer health and higher health care costs. The goal of the project is to develop and test new technology that can present online health information that is easier to understand and remember. Prototypes will be developed that will visualize both the structure and content of web pages to increase understanding and retention without oversimplification. A small pilot study has shown positive effects of such a representation. The two prototypes will differ in how much content detail is included in the visualization. They will be evaluated for their effects on understanding and retention of information and compared with currently existing web sites. User behavior and preferences will also be captured and analyzed. Three user groups will participate in the development and evaluation of the prototypes: elderly consumers, Hispanic non-native speakers, and patients. These groups were chosen for their specific characteristics (age related problems, sub-optimal command of English, and patients' stress) that may require improved information presentation.
Effective start/end date9/30/059/29/08


  • National Institutes of Health: $170,867.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $143,201.00


  • Medicine(all)
  • Health Professions(all)


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