University to host online Health Communication Conference

By Daily Illini Staff Report

The University’s Health Communication Online Master of Science program is scheduled to host an online conference entitled “Health Communication Barriers, Breakthroughs, and Best Practices” from March 1 to 3 this coming spring.

The conference is geared toward academics and professionals in the health career field and calls for all abstracts and presentation proposals. Potential authors are invited to submit their presentations in Prezi format by Nov. 15 and will be notified of acceptance by Dec. 1.

The top ten presentations will be awarded and the authors will be asked to attend a live online Q&A presenting their research in early April 2017.

Communications professor and creator of the online conference, John Lammers, said that he has been studying communication in healthcare contexts for a long time, and that this was a huge spark for his interest in health care and communication.

Lammers said he got the idea based on the ability to generate resources through the Health Communication Online Master of Science program. 

“The program was actually founded by the late Professor Dale Brashers. When we realized that our master’s program would be successful (it has graduated about 100 students in the last five years) we realized we could use some of our resources to hold a conference for a broader audience in Health Communication,” Lammers said. “But we decided it should be an online conference, because our entire master’s program is also online.”

Lammers said that there are multiple barriers in health communication, mainly with the organizational communication and the physicians’ use of electronic health records.

“Most physicians find themselves burdened by EHRS because they spend more time recording information about their patients and the treatments than they do in actually working with the patient,” Lammers said. “So you might say that the problem in that case is the volume or amount of communication that creates a barrier.”

In the end, Lammers hopes to use the conference to give back to the healthcare community.

“The conference is an effort for us to give back to the broader community in healthcare what we have learned in our program, and to bring as many people from a broad audience together to share their ideas about Health Communication,” Lammers said.

Jessica Berbey and Madeleine Hubbard contributed to this report.