Health communication is narrower in scope than human communication. Health communication is a subset of human Communication that is concerned with how individuals deal with health-related issues. In health communication, the focus is on specific health-related transactions and factors that influence these transactions.
Transactions can be verbal or nonverbal, oral or written, personal or impersonal, and issue oriented or relationship oriented, to name a few of their characteristics. In general, health communication is concerned with the application of Communication concepts and theories to transactions that occur among individuals on health-related issues. Health communication occurs in many of the human Communication Contexts discussed in the previous section. At the level of mass communication, health communication refers to areas such as national and world health programs, health promotion, and public health planning.
Universal Importance of Health Communication In Human Life
In the area of public communication, health communication refers to presentations, speeches, and public addresses made by individuals on health- related topics. In organizational contexts, health Communication may be involved with areas such as hospital administration, staff relations, and organizational communication climates. Within small group contexts, health Communication refers to areas such as treatment planning meetings, staff reports, and health team interactions.
Health communication in interpersonal contexts includes those variables in the human communication process that directly affect professional-professional and professional-client interaction. Finally, health communication in the interpersonal context would refer to our inner thoughts, beliefs, and feelings, and our “self- talk” about issues that influence our health-directed behaviors. Communication in these contexts has a common health-related focus; however, the specific aims of the Communication as well as the number of people involved in the process may vary considerably.
Research on interpersonal relations in health care settings is still in its infancy. The discipline of health communication parallels several other newer fields of study including health psychology, medical sociology, biomedical communication, behavioral medicine, behavioral health, and medical communications. These newer fields are building on the ground- work laid by professional disciplines such as nursing, social work, psychology, sociology, medicine, and public health. Health communication Overlaps with these other fields, but maintains communication issues in health care settings.
Health communication involves the exchange of knowledge, opinions and feelings about the topics of health and disease. Such exchanges can take place between health professionals and patients in the context of the health care system, or between citizens and policy makers in the context of health care policy. Direct, personal communication remains an important source of information on health and disease.