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J Health Commun. 1998;3 Suppl:1-13.

Evaluating the Cancer Information Service: a model for health communications. Part 1.

Author information

1
Cancer Information Service Branch, Office of Cancer Communications, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-2580, USA.

Abstract

The Cancer Information Service (CIS) was established in 1975 by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to meet the information needs of cancer patients, their families, health professionals, and the public. As the nation's foremost source for cancer information, the CIS applies a unique health communications model to bring the latest research findings on cancer prevention, detection, treatment, and supportive care to the nation. It does this through two main program components: a toll-free telephone service (1-800-4-CANCER) and an outreach program that focuses on providing technical assistance, specifically to partners reaching minority and underserved audiences. During its 22-year history, more than 7.5 million callers have reached the CIS telephone service. In addition, 100,000 requests are received each year from 4,500 organizations nationwide seeking cancer-related outreach expertise. This overview describes the CIS model for health communications, describes the program's impact in broad terms, and defines the critical role evaluation plays in each program component. The overview describes two customer satisfaction and impact surveys performed by an independent survey research firm in 1996 to evaluate the CIS model: (a) the telephone service user survey, a random sample of 2,489 persons representing major caller groups who were interviewed 3 to 6 weeks after their initial call to the CIS; and (b) the outreach partner survey, a random sample of 867 partner organizations, the majority of which reach minority and underserved audiences with information and programs, surveyed within a few months after a contact with the CIS outreach program. Impact data for both program areas were favorable: Approximately 8 out of 10 CIS callers reported that the information they received had a positive impact (either in eliciting a positive action [56%] or in reassurance of decisions made [22%]) and two-thirds of CIS partners said the CIS has an important impact on their programs.

PMID:
10977265
DOI:
10.1080/108107398127210
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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