Translating Health Communication Research into Practice: The Infl uence of Health Communication Scholarship on Health Policy, Practice, and Outcomes
Health communication is an inherently applied area of social scientifi c inquiry that examines the powerful roles performed by human and mediated communication in delivering health care and promoting health. Health communication research is typically problembased, focused on explicating, examining, and addressing important and troubling health care and health promotion problems. These problems might include diffi culties in promoting active coordination and collaboration in the delivery of care, demands to eliminate inadvertent errors made that jeopardize quality of care, attempts to meet unmet health information needs to guide health decisions, and the quest to overcome serious inequities in care that lead to poor health outcomes. The applied nature of health communication inquiry is fi rmly grounded in the implicit goal to facilitate improvements in the delivery of care and the promotion of health, ultimately enhancing health outcomes. This chapter focuses on evaluating where we are as health communication scholars in achieving this important translational goal and what we need to do to really make a signifi cant positive diff erence in enhancing the delivery of health care and the promotion of public health.