This paper considers new computer methodologies for assessing the impact of different types of public health information. The example used public service announcements (PSAs) and mass media news to predict the volume of attempts to call the CDC National AIDS Hotline from December 1992 through to the end of 1993. The analysis relied solely on data from electronic databases. Newspaper stories and television news transcripts were obtained from the NEXIS electronic database and were scored by machine for AIDS coverage. The PSA database was generated by computer monitoring of advertising distributed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and by others. The volume of call attempts was collected automatically by the public branch exchange (PBX) of the Hotline telephone system. The call attempts, the PSAs and the news story data were related to each other using both a standard time series method and the statistical model of ideodynamics. The analysis indicated that the only significant explanatory variable for the call attempts was PSAs produced by the CDC. One possible explanation was that these commercials all included the Hotline telephone number while the other information sources did not.
- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
- Mass media
- Public service announcements