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article imageStudy: Medical TV Shows Boost Viewer Awareness of Health Info

By David Silverberg     Sep 17, 2008 in Health
It turns out watching Grey's Anatomy, House and ER can actually help you retain information long after the credits roll, a new study reveals. The lead researcher said, "For better or worse, viewers do absorb the health information they see on TV."
Digital Journal -- If you watch Grey's Anatomy, for instance, you aren't just sucking at the glass teat, as Harlan Ellison once said. In fact, you are absorbing health information from the popular TV show, according to a unique study by the Kaiser Family Foundation. These shows are not only a form of entertainment but also a way to pass along key facts about illnesses, disease, and health risks.
Using Grey's Anatomy as a case study, the Kaiser researchers surveyed viewers on a health topic before and after the episode aired. The press release stated:
The storyline involved an HIV positive pregnant woman who learns that with the proper treatment, she has a 98% chance of having a healthy baby. The study found that the audience’s awareness of this information increased by 46 percentage points (from 15% to 61%), a four-fold increase among all viewers.
The study also found that around 29 per cent of regular Grey’s viewers think the medical information on the show is very accurate, while another 58 per cent say it’s somewhat accurate.
Elizabeth Klaviter, director of medical research for the series, said in the release: "We’ve always known we have a passionate and engaged audience at Grey’s Anatomy. But this study shows us how much they are affected by the health information in the show, and that’s a responsibility we take very seriously."
Victoria Rideout, the author of the study, applauds the positive value of shows like Grey's. "This study shows the enormous potential for entertainment television to serve as a health educator,” she said.
More about Grey anatomy, Medical information, Health
 
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