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Health authorities' health risk communication with the public during pandemics
A rapid scoping review

Siv Hilde BergCentre for Resilience in Healthcare, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Stavanger. Norway

Co-authors

  • Kolbjørn K. BrønnickCentre for Resilience in Healthcare, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Stavanger   Norway
  • Jane O'HaraSchool of Healthcare, Faculty of Medicine & Health, University of Leeds, UK.   United Kingdom
  • Marie Therese ShorrtCentre for Resilience in Healthcare, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Stavanger   Norway
  • Henriette ThuneFaculty of Health Sciences, University of Stavanger, Norway   Norway
  • Siri WiigCentre for Resilience in Healthcare, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Stavanger   Norway
Background: Scientific insights from the H1N1 Swine flu pandemic and the recent coronavirus pandemic COVID-19 provide an opportunity to get insight into the role of health authorities" various ways of communicating health risk information to the public. Hence, we aimed to synthesise the existing evidence regarding different modes of communication used by health authorities in health risk communication with the public during a pandemic.

Methods: We conducted a rapid scoping review. MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched for publications in English from January 2009- through October 2020, covering both the H1N1 pandemic as well as the response phase during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Results:The search resulted in 1440 records, of which 48 studies met our eligibility criteria. The included studies were analysed in a content analysis.

Conclusion:  The identified studies on social media focused mainly on engagement. There is a lack of studies investigating the effect of health authorities" videos and messages on social media platforms and self-protective behaviour. More studies with RCT design are needed across the fields of health risk communication and media studies (including visual communication, creative communication, video, digital marketing) at a time when online digital communication is central in reaching the public.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Category: Individual paper
Theme: Transformation

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