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Vaccine. 2017 Jul 13;35(32):4041-4047. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.05.048. Epub 2017 Jun 12.

Communicating infectious disease prevalence through graphics: Results from an international survey.

Author information

1
Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT, United States; Veterans Affairs Salt Lake City Center for Informatics Decision Enhancement and Surveillance (IDEAS), Salt Lake City, UT, United States. Electronic address: angie.fagerlin@hsc.utah.edu.
2
Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States; Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States; Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, United States.
3
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa, United States.
4
Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, United States.
5
Centre for Language Studies, Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands.
6
Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, United States; Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, United States; Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, United States.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Graphics are increasingly used to represent the spread of infectious diseases (e.g., influenza, Zika, Ebola); however, the impact of using graphics to adequately inform the general population is unknown.

OBJECTIVE:

To examine whether three ways of visually presenting data (heat map, dot map, or picto-trendline)-all depicting the same information regarding the spread of a hypothetical outbreak of influenza-influence intent to vaccinate, risk perception, and knowledge.

DESIGN:

Survey with participants randomized to receive a simulated news article accompanied by one of the three graphics that communicated prevalence of influenza and number of influenza-related deaths.

SETTING:

International online survey.

PARTICIPANTS:

16,510 adults living in 11 countries selected using stratified random sampling based on age and gender.

MEASUREMENTS:

After reading the article and viewing the presented graphic, participants completed a survey that measured interest in vaccination, perceived risk of contracting disease, knowledge gained, interest in additional information about the disease, and perception of the graphic.

RESULTS:

Heat maps and picto-trendlines were evaluated more positively than dot maps. Heat maps were more effective than picto-trendlines and no different from dot maps at increasing interest in vaccination, perceived risk of contracting disease, and interest in additional information about the disease. Heat maps and picto-trendlines were more successful at conveying knowledge than dot maps. Overall, heat maps were the only graphic to be superior in every outcome.

LIMITATIONS:

Results are based on a hypothetical scenario.

CONCLUSION:

Heat maps are a viable option to promote interest in and concern about infectious diseases.

KEYWORDS:

Communication; Graphics; Infectious disease; Influenza; Vaccination

PMID:
28647168
PMCID:
PMC5660609
DOI:
10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.05.048
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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