This paper describes how theory facilitated the development of educational content for the MI-HEART project, a tailored Web-based intervention designed to favorably influence the appropriateness and rapidity of decision-making in patients suffering from symptoms of acute myocardial infarction. There were five steps involved: 1) formulating the behavioral goal, 2) defining intervention objectives based on an analyses of the determinants of behavior, 3) developing an assessment tool to measure a person's status on these determinants, 4) creating tailored content that address individual variation on determinants of the health behavior and, 5) developing algorithms and a computer program that link responses from the assessment to specific tailored communication. The approach we describe largely distinguishes Web-based applications that are designed to change health behavior from those that simply impart information. Developers of Web-based applications that propose to improve health status by modifying health-related behaviors need the understanding that although it is said that we live in an "information age", simply increasing knowledge has not been effective in changing behaviors in most instances. Furthermore, the one-size fits all approach to developing educational content cannot address the needs, concerns and interests of different individuals. With informatics technology, our ability to collect information from individuals and provide educational content tailored to the specific information collected is not only possibly, but practical.
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|Published - Jan 1 2001