The Role of Communication in Health Messages

Written by Nurhanis Hazry

Communication plays a vital role in improving the health’s awareness among society. It is impossible to disseminate and to promote healthy choices if we could not communicate. As stated by Northouse (1998), communication is an important, instrumental, powerful and purposeful process that involves a verbal and non-verbal transaction in sharing information by using a set of common rules. In health communication, communication is an effectiveness process that comes to fruition when society received and responded to the messages (Kiger, 2004).

Health communication helps in promoting the successful exchange of information among the society. It takes place in many levels, including the individual, group, organization, community and mass media. The addition of ‘health’ in communication acts as a resource that allows the health messages to be used in avoidance of any illness and viruses. This type of communication implies two-way communication that moving away from the traditional concept of one-way communication towards any multi-way communication (Kreps, 2003).

The utility of communication in health awareness campaigns need to be constantly updated for the society’s information in any public health settings. Society acts as an important determinant of the public health awareness (Schein and colleagues, 2010). Society facing challenges when they cannot be understood the health’s terms without the aid from media to clarify those terms. The reason is- citizen’s knowledge about science comes largely through mass media that not directly through scientific publications and direct involvement in science field (Corbett and Durfee, 2004: 130).

Other article written by K. Bruce Newbold and Sarah Campos (2011); Media and Social Media in Public Health Messages: A Systematic Review defined the development of communication has fundamentally changed the interaction between the society beyond the boundaries. The role of communication provides a base for the health publication to the users to read on it (Schein and colleagues, 2010). However, communication is usually blamed for the uncertainty in many health messages. The blended information about those messages will create a curious among society.

The uncertainty of health messages commonly gave a margin error in health related messages (Pielke, 2007: 55). A study was done by Stephen A. Rains and Riva Tukachinsky (2014) notes that, uncertainty occurs when the details of the situations are ambiguous, complex, unpredictable or probabilistic. The uncertainty also occurs when the information is unavailable or inconsistent and when people feel insecure in their knowledge and environment (Brashers, 2001, p.478).

In health communication, uncertainty also has been recognized as an important element (Babrow, Kasch, & Ford, 1998; Brashers, 2001; Mishel, 1988) when individuals appraise uncertainty for meaning that can motivate the attempts to manage it (Brashers, 2001, 2007; Brashers & Horgan, 2013). Here, communication plays a vital role in communicating scientific knowledge and helps in shaping the public understandings, important issues and rankings of risk. The standards of the professionals compiling risk statistics with it story-telling and affective impact is a key question for those considering the media reporting as uncertainty messages.

As a conclusion, communication is responsible in spreading the awareness and benefits of health messages among society. It also helps in clarifying the uncertainty of those messages disseminating through the health users (society). In order to promote health and reduce the ill health successfully, health communicators should design the ways and interventions by using several communication concepts for successful health promotion campaigns. The potential factors or leverage points in communication skills may influence the successful outcomes in the way of health promotion.