Though social media tools have initially been used for commercial purposes, a growing stream of recent evidence shows that their scientific and social benefits are difficult to overestimate (Bandura, 2004). Prevention of diseases is one of the ways how media can be used to promote health in society. Online video sharing is an increasingly popular activity and a powerful took for information exchange. Nowadays any person who has Internet access is able to share, upload, view and comment on different types of video footage. Utilizing video-sharing websites to disseminate professional health communication and education messages encourages users to get engaged in the experience of viewing and creating health information videos. Such powerful video sources as YouTube, where people daily watch over 100 million clips, can become a powerful mechanism in assisting healthcare professionals to distribute accurate and useful health and science messages.
I have chosen an educative health video as a prevention media example for this paper because of the growing worldwide interest to online video exchange, accessibility of this type of media and efficiency of visual and audio information comprehension and memorizing. I am convinced that young adults and middle age individuals, lacking knowledge about their own health and lifestyle, have little or no reason to work on changing their detrimental habits, unless they understand how these can affect their health in the future. A stroke prevention video has been created and uploaded to YouTube in order to be easily accessed by the general public in any country (Health Guru, 2014). It starts with some general information about the stroke, accompanied by the image of emergency vehicle, enhancing the dangers represented by the disease and the importance of quick reaction in case of its detection. A female voice (likely to belong to a nurse or a doctor) explains that stroke is a major cause of disability and one of the leading causes of death in the world. The next moment a physician in a white laboratory coat holding a stethoscope appears on the screen and starts speaking about the importance of stroke prevention. He explains the viewer the difference between the primary and secondary prevention. First he recommends healthy individuals to take measures before they get sick: to adopt healthy lifestyles through non-smoking, diet modifications, weight control, exercising, avoidance of bad habits, etc. For people with existing pathology he gives recommendations on how to reduce the progression or recurrence of the disease. He speaks about the medications that are usually prescribed to patients who had already suffered from stroke or people in the risk group for this condition. The role of Aspirin, anticoagulants, Beta-blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors is discussed. The speech is accompanied by numerous pictures of unhealthy lifestyle dangers, as well as pictures of medications described by the doctor. In the end of his speech, the physician concludes that stroke is a life-altering and lethally dangerous condition, however it is possible to significantly reduce its risk by taking proper preventive measures. This particular video is targeting a wide range of viewers with different age and cultural background. To help people decrease the number of health-impairing habits it enables them with the skills of self-management needed to take charge over their health.
Interactive technologies, such as a stroke prevention video discussed in terms of this paper, are only a tool in health promotion, not a panacea. These are worth little, in case individuals are not able to motivate themselves to use and take advantage of what is offered (Buttaro et al., 2013). Thus the task of any healthcare professional is to inform community how to efficiently promote health and prevent stroke, while the task of every individual is to watch, listen and be willing to follow the advice provided.
- Bandura, A. (2004). Health promotion by social cognitive means. Health Education & Behavior, 31(2), 143-164.
- Buttaro, T. M., Trybulski, J., Polgar Bailey, P., & Sandberg-Cook, J. (2013). Primary care: A collaborative practice (4th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
- Health Guru,. (2014). Preventing Stroke. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9UEtmqBY0s