Better Health - Laureate Finalist Medal

Project Description

Better Health examines a computer-based, longitudinally-tailored, print material intervention and a complementary computer-based, longitudinally-tailored, telecounseling intervention among a generalizable group of individuals served by the Henry Ford Health System. A Web-based system provides individually-tailored prompts to aid telecounselors during their telephone sessions with participants.

In a randomized, 2x2 factorial trial, we are determining the effectiveness of the two interventions, both individually and in combination, in achieving behavior change of three targeted health risk behaviors: cigarette smoking, vegetable consumption, and sedentary behavior. The trial involves approximately 2700 individuals, who, after initial data collection and random assignment to experimental group, received treatments at four periods of time over the first 18 weeks of the intervention period. Three data collection follow-up periods, at 3, 12 and 18 months, allow us to assess both short- and long-term behavioral effects of the individual and combined treatments.

Through this research, we are developing a better understanding of how the presence of multiple risk behaviors affects the probability of changing all or any of them; and evaluating the joint action of these behaviors with demographic characteristics, stage of change, social support, health beliefs and health services utilization.

Preliminary results of the study, presented at the annual 2002 eHealth Technology Conference, show a significant improvement in average daily vegetable consumption as a result of the tailored print materials 90 days after the baseline assessment. Telephone-based counseling to improve vegetable consumption failed to demonstrate a significant effect and did not significantly add to the effect of the tailored print materials. Sub-group analyses also showed the largest effect of the tailored print materials among African-American subjects.


Award Description

Founded by Computerworld and the Smithsonian Institute in 1988, the prestigious Honors Program "...brings together the Chairmen or Chief Executive Officers of the world's foremost information technology companies with the world's leading universities, libraries and research institutions to document a revolution in progress: the global information technology revolution. The Honors Program is dedicated to identifying the men and women, organizations and institutions, that are leading this revolution and to recording the impact of their achievements on society."