Strecher says the kiosks are easily expandable and there are plans to add five to seven additional channels in the next year. "This type of program with its television format," he says, "allows us to easily generate new channels, new risk factors, add them in a seamless way, then each year, add on and refine the channels we already have." The kiosks are hooked into a central computer server at U-M, allowing for information on the systems to be updated as needed.
Strecher says his group plans to closely monitor feedback from health kiosk users. It's hoped that in the very near future, people using the kiosks will be able to get a print-out that will give them a personal plan of action, tailored to their specific needs. Strecher says there are also plans to localize the information available at a given location. For example, a person using the prostate screening channel could be made aware of free screenings or health fairs in the area.
Public health and medical specialists, computer programmers, graphic artists and Hollywood Screen Writers Guild writers joined forces on the project.
"Studies have shown that, compared to standard mass-produced materials such as pamphlets and booklets," Strecher says, "health messages tailored to an individual's needs and interests are much more likely to result in a positive health behavior change."