For someone studying communications, a career working in marketing, media, web design or journalism seems to make sense. It is easy to see a skillset built for communicating and relating with people transferring into those fields, and many communications programs are designed with these careers specifically in mind.
However, the Mayo Clinic, a premier research hospital located in Rochester, Minnesota, put some of those same skills to use this week while examining ways to improve their ability to communicate with patients and encourage patients to keep up with extended care routines.
Specifically, the Mayo Clinic examined a population of young, low-income, and pregnant women from the inner-city that were suffering from postpartum depression. These women are in particular need of regular medical care, both for themselves and for the health of their newborn children. These young women are at higher risk for diseases like diabetes and other complications during their childbearing years.
While surveying women about their health and financial situations, the Mayo Clinic also surveyed the young women about their cellphone usage. Out of a group of just over 250 women, 90 percent were found to use smartphones or cellphones to give and get information on a regular basis.
With the increased health risk related to these women, it has become imperative for the Mayo Clinic to develop new and alternative methods of communicating with these young women through the medium they use most often – their mobile devices.
Right now researchers are testing and designing programs for English and Spanish speakers that will allow for personal contact with these women and help them to maintain and stay educated about their health and the healthcare needs of their children.
Communication specialists will play an important role in helping the Mayo Clinic to develop these tools. It just goes to show, you never know what you might use your degree for.