A historiographic review of health education interventions and the microcomputer

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Technology in Society


Since the advent of the microcomputer in the 1970s and the Internet in the early 1990s, the Information Age has revolutionized modern society and daily life and reshaped the health education and health promotion (HEHP) fields. Microcomputers have evolved from a rare commodity to a standard expectation for HEHP professional preparation, program development, and delivery of services and information. To examine microcomputer use in both historical and contemporary perspective, this article identifies and evaluates the first publications that explored possible application of microcomputers and computer-assisted instruction in the HEHP field. A historiographic review was conducted between January 1960 and December 1989 and by applying search strategies to ten academic electronic databases. Articles were evaluated for subject matter, article type, target audience, and applicability to the HEHP fields using these constructs: Effectiveness, cost-containment, instructional, pilot test, tailoring, and theory. The article sample was carefully reviewed, tabulated, and evaluated. The search procedure identified 39 articles which met the search parameters and demonstrated applicability with one or more core constructs. Effectiveness and tailoring emerged as the most prominent constructs associated with HEHP; a call to action was the most common article type. What was apparent during the search period and relevant today is the necessary rejection of a single method for microcomputer application. A relationship between target audiences and the populations they served is also apparent in the early literature.

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