Health Communication 101 - Why is Health Communication Important?

Effective health communication is critical to health and well-being.


5/15/20232 min read

Health communication refers to the practice of informing, educating, and promoting health-related information, messages, and behaviors to individuals, communities, and the public. It is a field of study that focuses on the creation, delivery, and evaluation of health-related messages that are targeted toward specific audiences, with the goal of promoting healthy behaviors and improving health outcomes. The CDC and the National Cancer Institute define health communication as “the study and use of communication strategies to inform and influence individual decisions that enhance health.”

Health communication encompasses a wide range of activities, such as public health campaigns, health education programs, health promotion initiatives, patient-provider communication, social marketing, and advocacy. It involves the use of various channels and mediums to deliver health information, such as social media, print media, broadcast media, in-person communication, and mobile technologies.

Effective health communication requires a thorough understanding of the target audience, including their cultural background, health literacy, and communication preferences. It also relies heavily on evidence-based research and best practices in health communication, as well as on the use of clear and concise language that is easily understandable by the intended audience.

The ultimate goal of health communication is to promote healthy behaviors and improve health outcomes by providing individuals and communities with accurate, relevant, and accessible health information and messages.

Why is health communication important?

Effective health communication is critical to health and well-being. Here are some of the key reasons why health communication is essential:

  1. Improving health outcomes: Health communication can help individuals and communities make informed decisions about their health, leading to improved health outcomes and better quality of life.

  2. Promoting health equity: Health communication can help address health disparities by ensuring that health information and resources are accessible to everyone, regardless of their race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or other factors.

  3. Enhancing patient-provider communication: Health communication can improve the quality of patient-provider communication, leading to better patient outcomes, increased patient satisfaction, and improved patient-provider relationships.

  4. Supporting public health efforts: Health communication can support public health efforts, such as disease prevention, health promotion, and emergency preparedness, by providing accurate and timely health information to the public.

  5. Addressing health challenges: Health communication can help address a wide range of health challenges, such as chronic diseases, infectious diseases, mental health issues, and environmental health concerns.

  6. Fostering behavior change: Health communication can encourage individuals and communities to adopt healthy behaviors, such as regular exercise, healthy eating, smoking cessation, and adherence to medical treatments.

  7. Empowering individuals and communities: Health communication can empower individuals and communities to take charge of their health and advocate for their own healthcare needs.

In summary, health communication is important because it can improve health outcomes, promote health equity, enhance patient-provider communication, support public health efforts, address health challenges, foster behavior change, and empower individuals and communities.