The Information and Communication Strategies Focused on Young People and Adolescents within the Field of Public Health

The Information and Communication Strategies Focused on Young People and Adolescents within the Field of Public Health

Martha Sabelli (University of Republic, Uruguay), Jorge Rasner (University of Republic, Uruguay), María Cristina Pérez Giffoni (University of Republic, Uruguay) and Eduardo Álvarez Pedrosian (University of Republic, Uruguay)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3990-4.ch012
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Abstract

Within the framework of the implementation of the Integrated National Healthcare System (SNIS) along with national policies of information and communication at the República Oriental del Uruguay, a research is being conducted, focusing on adolescents and young people in vulnerable contexts in the city of Montevideo, taking them as both real and potential users of healthcare information. It also centers in the mediators in the flow of communication and information, especially among healthcare staff. From a multi-interdisciplinary approach, this investigation aims at identifying the behaviors and needs of the target population in relation to the information and ICTs, the availability and access to personal technological resources, its context of use (the community, their everyday lives, the institutions), the process of interaction among the different social actors in the sector, as well as in the communication flow within the organizational culture of these services. On this basis, it will provide models to design electronic information resources according to the social needs, and which may contribute to the inclusion of all citizens in the so-called Information Society.
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Introduction

The rapid development of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has led the University of the Republic (Universidad de la República - UdelaR, Uruguay) to implement a research area, bringing as consequence the emergence of an innovative research experience through the Group of Research in Information and Communication for Social Inclusion established in 2009 as part of the Program for the Academic Development of Information and Communication (PRODIC). It integrates three UdelaR institutions: the School of Library Science and Related Areas (EUBCA), the Sciences of Communication BA (LICCOM) and the Computing Institute – INCO from the School of Engineering. It is an interinstitutional and interdisciplinary group (Social and Cultural Anthropology, Library and Information Science, Communication Sciences, Social Education, School Teacher Training and Secondary School Teacher Training, Philosophy, Cultural Management, Computer Engineering and Sociology), which addresses social issues to be solved from the complementary perspectives and basis of the disciplines which take part and work coordinately along the investigation.

The research project (2010-2012) is approved in July 2010 under the name The Information and Communication Strategies Focused on young people and adolescents within the field of Public Health: Analysis and Proposals (RAP-ASSE. Montevideo, Zone 9). It follows the two research lines chosen by the PRODIC: Information, communication and cultural policies and Information Society and creative industries.

The problem to investigate considers a broad scope and concentrates on the research subjects: citizens in vulnerable situations as users of healthcare information and the different mediators participating in the communication and information flow, particularly healthcare staff.

Existing problems regarding the flow and access to the most appropriate sources of information in healthcare issues are expressed as highly relevant by the civil society, healthcare services and members of the team of the Metropolitan Integration Program (MIP) of the Communal Centre in Montevideo's Zone 9. In the same way, the recently created National Health System presents both strengths and weaknesses, being one of its main drawbacks the difficulties and obstacles to the access, use, and appropriation of healthcare information by citizens from unfavorable contexts.

Citizens have the right to be provided with healthcare information supplied by sources which should be rigorous, safe, reliable, friendly and accessible. However, a great number of them live in vulnerable situations, immerse in digital information gaps, within a context of poor social and cultural resources. It is in that sense that our investigation deals with a real problem of society: poverty and social inclusion and its relation to processes and resources in the flow of information / communication in the field of healthcare services.

Therefore, it is our main concern to knowing and understand the needs and behaviors related to the access, search and use of information in adolescents and young people, real and potential users of healthcare centers and family clinics belonging to the Level One Attention Network (RAP) of the State Health Services Administration (ASSE) in an area of Montevideo, where the majority of the slums of the country are located. At the same time, and in a coordinated manner, we intend to identify, describe, and analyze the existing communication flow in such organizations from the perspective of informational needs of the adolescent or young subject-user of healthcare services. Based on that, we aspire to strengthen the process of design, dissemination and promotion of available services and resources in healthcare information through the ICTs.

To summarize, from a multi and interdisciplinary approach, this research aims at knowing the behavior and needs of the target public in relation to the information and the ICTs, the availability and access to the personal technological resources, its context of use (the community, everyday life, institutions, etc.), the process of interaction among the different social actors in the sector and the communication flow in the organizational culture of these services. Based on that, it will provide models on which to design electronic resources on healthcare information directed to citizens, consistent with the social needs that contribute to the inclusion of them all in the so-called Information Society.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Information Users: Multidimensional concept that refers to a main actor in the processes of information: the person who either actually or potentially relates to information resources.

Human Information Behavior: It refers to the way in which people in context and communities relate to information contents and interact with them. It constitutes a lifelong social practice and includes the access, search, and use of information.

Health Information: Resources and services which are accessible via digital networks and that, in a social inclusion strategy, are designed to promote healthcare among the population while contributing to the solution of social, local and personal problems.

Information and Communication Flow: Complex social process focused on human beings in a socio-cultural context, through which knowledge is transferred to the community. It includes the production, circulation, social use of information resources, as well as the appropriation of contents by the actors involved in the process.

Information Poverty: Citizens in vulnerable situation as users of information, as a result of social inequality along with difficulties in defining their information needs, accessing both physically and intellectually to technology and information resources and communication, and generating, using or applying knowledge to situations which require so.

Information and Communication Flow: Complex social process focused on human beings in a socio-cultural context, through which knowledge is transferred to the community. It includes the production, circulation, social use of information resources, as well as the appropriation of contents by the actors involved in the process.

Human Information Behavior: It refers to the way in which people in context and communities relate to information contents and interact with them. It constitutes a lifelong social practice and includes the access, search, and use of information.

Subjectification Processes: Production and reproduction dynamics of ways of being, based on practical and unique experiences, conditioned while at the same time open to changes.

Digital Information Resources: Sources and services of information produced and accessible via ICTs.

Information Poverty: Citizens in vulnerable situation as users of information, as a result of social inequality along with difficulties in defining their information needs, accessing both physically and intellectually to technology and information resources and communication, and generating, using or applying knowledge to situations which require so.

Health Information: Resources and services which are accessible via digital networks and that, in a social inclusion strategy, are designed to promote healthcare among the population while contributing to the solution of social, local and personal problems.

Information Users: Multidimensional concept that refers to a main actor in the processes of information: the person who either actually or potentially relates to information resources.

Everyday Life Information Seeking: Tactics developed by common people regarding information seeking in the context of their everyday lives. Information behavior affected by a wide range of factors related to their way of life, project of life, values, habitus , social, cultural, and cognitive capital.

Subjectification Processes: Production and reproduction dynamics of ways of being, based on practical and unique experiences, conditioned while at the same time open to changes.

Everyday Life Information Seeking: Tactics developed by common people regarding information seeking in the context of their everyday lives. Information behavior affected by a wide range of factors related to their way of life, project of life, values, habitus, social, cultural, and cognitive capital.

Digital Information Resources: Sources and services of information produced and accessible via ICTs.

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