Effective Health CommunicationsIn the process of working on a project involving the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, I came upon a helpful list of eleven "Attributes of Effective Health Communication."
This list (here slightly edited) merits wide circulation in its own right and because most of the attributes apply beyond the health field:
Accuracy The content is valid and without errors of fact, interpretation, or judgment.
Availability The content (whether targeted message or other information) is delivered or placed where the audience can access it. Placement varies according to audience, message complexity, and purpose, ranging from interpersonal and social networks to billboards and mass transit signs to prime-time TV or radio, to public kiosks (print or electronic), to the Internet.
Balance Where appropriate, the content presents the benefits and risks of potential actions or recognizes different and valid perspectives on the issue.
Consistency The content remains internally consistent over time and also is consistent with information from other sources. (The latter is a problem when other widely available content is not accurate or reliable.)
Cultural competence The design, implementation, and evaluation process accounts for special issues for select population groups (for example, ethnic, racial, and linguistic) and also educational levels and disability.
Evidence base The content is based on relevant scientific evidence that has undergone comprehensive review and rigorous analysis to formulate practice guidelines, performance measures, review criteria, and technology assessments for telehealth applications.
Reach The content gets to or is available to the largest possible number of people in the target population.
Reliability The source of the content is credible, and the content itself is kept up to date.
Repetition The delivery of/access to the content is continued or repeated over time, both to reinforce the impact with a given audience and to reach new generations.
Timeliness The content is provided or available when the audience is most receptive to, or in need of, the specific information.
Understandability The reading or language level and format (including multimedia) are appropriate for the specific audience.