Diabetes and You

diabetes and you

PIs: Pam Whitten, Brian Winn

Health e-technologies hold great promise to improve patient outcomes and lower health care costs.  However, it is a recognized problem that literacy deficits and poor health are correlated.  If online health content is to reach its potential, methods must be determined for developing websites that can be used effectively by millions of low-literate Americans.  In this new era of e-health, researchers and practitioners must reach a better understanding of how various population segments obtain, use, interpret, and retain online health information.  Typically, researchers have focused on subpopulations defined by traditional demographic traits such as race, gender, and age.  New research has shown that such work may be focusing on demographic variables that are actually not strong predictors of health status.  This project proposes that adults with low literacy levels are a segment of the population in great need of study.  This population of adults is in danger of falling behind the general population as more and more health information moves online. 

This project developed a website, called "Diabetes and You", designed to deliver general diabetes content to low literate adults.  The website was specifically designed to inform the general population about diabetes.  It includes six topic areas.  One unique tool on this webpage is an interactive survey that assesses a user’s risk for diabetes based on data provided for questions regarding risk factors (weight, race, etc.). 

We are currently doing usability testing on the web site with low-literate adults.

Funding for the development and ongoing evaluation for this project comes from a Medicaid grant from the Michigan Department of Community Health.

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