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HINTS Briefs

HINTS Briefs provide a snapshot of noteworthy, data-driven research findings. They introduce population-level estimates for specific questions in the survey and summarize significant research findings that are a result of analyzing how certain demographic characteristics influence specific outcomes. Many Briefs summarize research findings from recent peer-reviewed journal articles using HINTS data.

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English Briefs

Brief 28: Awareness of Electronic Cigarettes and Perceptions of Harmfulness Download Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 28In 2012, HINTS began collecting data on the public’s awareness of e-cigarettes and perceptions of harmfulness. Since then, awareness of e-cigarettes has grown. Using HINTS data, the proportion of U.S. adults reporting they had never heard of e-cigarettes dropped from 22.3% in 2012 to 13.6% in 2013. In this HINTS Brief, we explore e-cigarette awareness, use, and perceived harmfulness and suggest strategies for provider-patient discussions and health communication interventions.
Feb 2015
Brief 27: Developing an Electronic Health Information System for High-Quality Cancer Care Download Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 27Hospital and health care providers’ adoption and use of electronic health record systems have grown dramatically since the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health was passed in 2009 to encourage the proliferation of these systems to enhance health communication and health care delivery. In this HINTS Brief, we describe the publics’ perceptions about the security and privacy of their electronic health information.
Nov 2014
Brief 26: Preventing Cancer through Increased Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine Uptake Download Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 26In this HINTS Brief, we discuss the HPV vaccine that became available in 2006, awareness of HPV has increased significantly, but remains lower than desired. In 2013, equal proportions (68 percent) of the general adult population reported having heard of HPV and the HPV vaccine. Prior to the vaccine’s release, only 38 percent of women were familiar with HPV, and awareness among all adults was likely lower.
May 2014
Brief 25: Picking up the Pace Download Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 25Health information seeking and health communication have a significant effect on individuals’ health decisions, health-related behavior, and health outcomes. Data from HINTS have been critical in documenting and tracking these associations and trends in the U.S. population.  To address emerging issues in the field of health communication more quickly while still maintaining the ongoing measurement of trends, HINTS 4 will include five data collection cycles over the course of 3 years. In this HINTS Brief, we discuss the HINTS 4 data collection cycles and the special topic modules that will field only in some cycles.
September 2013
Brief 24: Public Awareness of Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Tests Download Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 24Many genetic tests are marketed directly to consumers through paid advertisements on television, radio, or the Internet. These direct-to-consumer genetic tests have become widely available, allowing consumers to purchase a range of genetic tests, often without the involvement of a health care professional. In this HINTS Brief, we explore national trends over time in public awareness of direct-to-consumer genetic tests.
May 2013
Brief 23: Health Information Technology and Meaningful Use Download Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 23Policy and practice related to health information technology (HIT) is rapidly changing. Implementation of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 has stimulated health care providers to adopt “meaningful use” of electronic health records (EHRs). The meaningful use criteria are intended to increase health care provider use of—and patient access to—electronic health information. In this HINTS Brief, we present perspectives on HIT among both the general public and people affected by cancer.
February 2013
Brief 22: Trust and Use of Media for Health Information among U.S. HispanicsDownload Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 22It has been well documented that some population segments—particularly those with lower socioeconomic status—experience knowledge gaps related to their health and their health care and often have difficulty accessing and using information that could help to reduce and prevent an unequal burden of disease. This may be especially relevant for Hispanic populations living in the United States because of well-established language, cultural, and media use challenges.
July 2012
Brief 21: Health Behaviors in Cancer SurvivorsDownload Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 21Significant progress in cancer diagnosis and treatment since the 1950s has led to a growing population of cancer survivors.
March 2012
Brief 20: Awareness of Clinical Trials and Attitudes About the Use of Personal Medical Information for ResearchDownload Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 20Clinical trials, which are health-related or biomedical research studies, are conducted to develop or test new medical treatments and medications. Clinical trials may benefit individual volunteers by providing access to new treatments before they are available outside of trials. Clinical trials also serve the overall population by evaluating the safety and efficacy of medical treatments, which may lead to improved treatment options in the future. In addition to research that involves direct treatment of patients in a clinical setting, other medical research involves the analysis of existing medical records and clinical data to assess the effectiveness of various treatment methods and patient care approaches.
October 2011
Brief 19: U.S. Social Media Use and Health CommunicationDownload Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 19Surveys routinely find that more than two-thirds of U.S. adults use the Internet, and about 60 percent of those online say they use the Internet to look for health or medical information. Although studies continue to show that ethnic minorities and those who are older, less educated, and less healthy are more likely to be non-Internet users, a more nuanced picture of this “digital divide” is beginning to emerge, particularly with the advent of social media and mobile technologies.
August 2011
Brief 18: Implementation of HINTS in Puerto RicoDownload Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 18In 2009, a demonstration project was conducted in Puerto Rico using existing Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) infrastructure to assess the feasibility of adapting the national HINTS survey to a local setting to facilitate local data collection and cancer control planning.
April 2011
Brief 17: Smokers' Attitudes Toward Potential "Reduced-Exposure" Tobacco Products (PREPs)Download Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 17The tobacco industry has in recent years introduced a proliferation of potential reduced-exposure tobacco products (PREPs), marketing such products as alternatives to conventional cigarettes and sometimes claiming they are less harmful or less addictive.
Nov 2010
Brief 16: Trends in Cancer Information SeekingDownload Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 16The past few decades have witnessed dramatic changes in the health communication and informatics environment.
Aug 2010
Brief 15: Organizations Collaborate to Focus on Prevention MessagesDownload Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 15When it comes to cancer prevention, more information does not necessarily mean greater clarity. Organizations collaborate to focus on prevention messages.
May 2010
Brief 14: Social Context Influences Interpersonal Health CommunicationDownload Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 14Studies have shown that a person’s social context can affect health communication access and usage, which, in turn, can affect health behaviors and outcomes, such as smoking, cancer screening, and disease.
Nov 2009
Brief 13: Americans Often Misunderstand the Extent to Which Colon, Skin, and Lung Cancers are Treatable and BeatableDownload Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 13"State-of-the-science" evidence in cancer refers to consensus among researchers and specialists regarding the most effective ways to prevent, screen for, and treat the disease, as well as rates of survival among those diagnosed.
Aug 2009
Brief 12: Hispanics Less Likely to Seek Cancer Information than Non-HispanicsDownload Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 12Differences in cancer information seeking and information access have the potential to shape health knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and medical decisions, and may contribute to disparities in health outcomes among disadvantaged populations.
Jan 2009
Brief 11: Knowledge of Tobacco-Related Cancers: Understanding the association of tobacco consumption and perceived cancer riskDownload Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 11Over the past several decades, significant progress has been made in reducing overall smoking rates and tobacco-related diseases. Despite these successes, there remain demographic and geographic disparities in smoking prevalence, tobacco-related health outcomes, and knowledge about lung cancer risk factors and mortality.
Oct 2008
Brief 10: Information Support for Cancer Survivors: Cancer information seeking behaviorsDownload Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 10Many people who have been touched by cancer actively use available resources (e.g., the Internet, health care providers, newspapers, brochures, and magazines) to seek information about the disease.
June 2008
Brief 9: Confusion about Cancer Prevention: Association with behaviorDownload Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 9Because many cancers can be prevented through individual action and lifestyle (e.g., not smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising, and wearing sunscreen), public understanding of cancer prevention is critical to cancer control.
Jan 2008
Brief 8: On-line Communication with Health Care Providers: eHealth behaviors and trendsDownload Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 8An emerging concept known as "eHealth" seeks to capitalize on the promise of new media technologies to facilitate equal access to timely and credible health information.
Nov 2007
Brief 7: Health Communication: Considerations for Developing Effective Health Communication StrategiesDownload Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 7Effective health communication strategies are increasingly recognized as integral to improving population health.
Aug 2007
Brief 6: Sun Safety: Perceptions and AwarenessDownload Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 6Only a minority of Americans regularly practice sun safety
May 2007
Brief 5: Knowledge and Awareness of Human Papillomavirus (HPV)Download Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 5In 2005, 61 percent of American women had never heard of HPV.
March 2007
Brief 4: Physical Activity: Cancer Risk Perceptions and Group Differences in BehaviorDownload Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 4The majority of Americans believes that physical activity plays a role in preventing cancer
December 2006
Brief 3: Cancer Screening: Breast, cervix, and colorectalDownload Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 3Most Americans Are Aware of Cancer Screening Tests. Knowing age and frequency recommendations remains a challenge.
Aug 2006
Brief 2: Cancer Knowledge: Understanding Cancer Risk and Reducing Cancer RiskDownload Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 2More than 64% of Americans believe that lifestyle and behavior influence cancer risk.
Mar 2006
Brief 1: Cancer Information Seeking BehaviorsDownload Brief in PDF Format
Cover image of Brief 1Almost half of all Americans have sought out information on the disease and its causes, prevention, and treatment.
Dec 2005