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Organizations’ communication about digital media for chronic disease self-management

Project within the DFG Research Unit "Digital media in chronic disease self-management” (DISELMA)

Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)

Duration: 2023-2027


Chronic diseases are among the most common health problems in industrial societies. The self-management of these diseases is increasingly supported by digital media, such as mHealth apps. The Research Unit of the German Research Foundation (DFG) "Digital media in chronic disease self-management” (DISELMA) is looking for new approaches to comprehensively address the role of digital media in the self-management of chronic diseases through multi-level research that brings together individual and societal levels.

The project "Organizations’ communication about digital media for chronic disease self-management" is one of six subprojects of the research unit. It focuses on the provider and stakeholder side of health apps, which has been little researched to date. Based on organizational theory and neo-institutionalist concepts, the project will contribute to research on health communication, by adding empirical insights into organization-specific findings.

The focus is on the analysis and comparison of communication strategies of different actors (including pharmaceutical companies, technology start-ups, health insurance companies, public agencies, and associations. The project comprises three sub-studies: (1) an organizational analysis, (2) semi-standardized interviews of communication managers, and (3) a content and framing analysis of apps for chronic disease self-management and related information and promotional materials.


Further subprojects of the research unit DISELMA are led by Prof. Dr. Constanze Rossmann (LMU Munich, spokesperson), Prof. Dr. Veronika Karnowski (TU Chemnitz), PD Dr. Claudia Riesmeyer (LMU Munich), Prof. Dr. Doreen Reifegerste (University of Bielefeld), and Prof. Dr. Julia Metag (WWU Münster).

Research project funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG):
"Networked Media Government Relations".

The research project „Networked Media Government Relations“ investigates from a comparative perspective the relationship between government organisations and news media in the online world. Building on the results of the first phase of the project, we analyse different forms of online political communication and communicative interactions among government actors in Germany, Great Britain, and Italy. The central research question is the following: despite structural differences in government communications in the three countries, can commonalities be found in the development of media government relations and the state of digitisation? The aim of the project is to further develop and empirically test a theory of networked media government relations. This theory will enable an integrated perspective on the relations between government actors and media, and describe and explain the changes in news management by governments in the online world.

This project is one of eight projects within the research group “Political Communication Online. Prerequisites and consequences of structural change in the political communication”. This union of German and Swiss communication scholars intends to answer the question as to how far political communication between citizens, political organizations and the media gets changed by the online media like online newspapers, search engines, video portals, social networking sites and blogs. Another question in this context is,  what impact this change has on politics – e.g. for political mobilization, the preferences of voters or on how fast subjects change in public discussions.

Research associate within the project: Jan Niklas Kocks & Kim Murphy

Research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF): „InfectControl 2020“

InfectControl 2020 is an innovative and multi-sectoral research alliance. The alliance is funded by the programme „Zwanzig20 – Partnerschaft für Innovation“ headed by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). The innovative research alliance InfectControl 2020 aims at developing and implementing new strategies for the early recognition, the control and successful approaches to fight infectious diseases.

Further information: www.infectcontrol.de

The Division of Organizational Communication deals with two sub-projects within the research alliance “InfectControl 2020”: Multi-sectoral Research Platform und IRMRESS. 

Sub-project of the Multi-sectoral Research Platform: TFP-TV4 AS8

The sub-project TFP-TV4 AS8 is part of the Multi-sectoral Research Platform– TFP.

The focus of this sub-project is to promote a reliable and science-based information transfer of risks of infection and measures to prevent them. One essential component of this approach is the proper communication of the associated risks and dangers of infection by physicians and scientists to various target groups (patients, farmers, general public etc.).

The aim of this project is to analyze and systematize the heterogeneous knowledge that exists in the communication of risks and perception. Furthermore, a specific Online e-Learning Tool purposely tailored for the continuing education of communicators and multipliers is to be realized, evaluated and sustainably implemented.

Duration: March 2015 – February 2018

Research associate within the project: Angela Osterheider


Sub-project “Participative risk communication” in the cooperative research project IRMRESS

The cooperative research project “Innovative reduction of multi-resistant infectious agents and establishment of a Next-Generation-Sequencing based Surveillance (IRMRESS)” deals with the development of strategies to reduce the use of antibiotics in human and veterinary medicine.

The sub-project “Participative risk communication” analyzes and develops participative risk and science communication strategies within different publics. This topic will be explored through the application of new, alternative anti-infectives in the livestock farming medicine. Therewith, the focus will be on the publics of farmers and veterinarians.

It is the objective of the sub-project to encourage a responsible use of antimicrobials. For this purpose it will be investigated in how far users in the agricultural sector perceive the risk of molecular biological research on antimicrobials. Based on these results a participative risk communication strategy will be developed and implemented. The strategy aims at addressing different stakeholders to integrate diverse opinions, concerns and needs of communication. Methodological approaches such as an analysis of documents, a survey of farmers and the development of a participative risk communication strategy, will be used.

Duration: August 2015 – July 2018

Research associate within the project: Julia Drews

Research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF):
New Strategies for Ensuring Food Supply, sub-project ‘Communication’

The research project ‘New Strategies for Ensuring Food Supply’ focuses on the critical infrastructure food supply. With consideration to all relevant stakeholders it is the main objective to provide new strategies for ensuring food supply. How can food supply be guaranteed in disaster situations? An interdisciplinary team of several partners addresses this question in different sub-projects.    

The sub-project ‘communication‘ examines how governmental authorities, media and the population in Germany are prepared for a food supply emergency and how they would handle crisis communication under these challenging conditions. Based on several empirical studies such as expert interviews, population and journalist surveys flexible risk and crisis communication strategies for ensuring food supply will be developed.

Duration: August 2012 – November 2015
Project website: www.neuenv.de/en
Research associate within the project: Julia Drews