Seeing is Believing, and the Key to Good Health

Video Storytelling - the Way to Better Health at

CHICAGO, July 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- When it comes to their health, nearly 90 percent of Americans lack the literacy skills to understand basic medical information and instruction. Low literacy has been linked to poor health outcomes such as higher rates of hospitalization and less frequent use of preventive services. A few quick minutes with a physician is not sufficient for most of us to understand a complex or chronic medical condition and how we can manage it. But new research indicates that video storytelling can be an effective way to educate people about health conditions - and watching others share their health stories can empower people to take control of their own health.

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(Photo:, a consumer health website produced by the country's largest customer-owned health insurer, is at the forefront of this video storytelling health-information movement, helping people manage childhood obesity, drug safety, mental health, childhood asthma and more with videos that feature health experts and people living with these conditions.

Research findings

A study published earlier this year in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that storytelling can help change a person's behavior–and bad health habits.  As patients "enter" the world of the storytellers, they can see themselves in that situation. As noted in the study, people with high blood pressure benefited more from video storytelling than from traditional teaching methods.

Stories people can relate to uses a similar approach to those highlighted in the research, presenting real kids, real teens and real parents talking about important health issues.

"When we developed our personal stories, we could imagine that the viewers would see these stories and go 'Gosh, they're just like us. Look at them going to the grocery store and picking out healthy food. Look at them reading labels,'" explains Stephanie Vomvouras, M.D., medical director, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, and medical advisor.

See more of Dr. Vomvouras and others discussing's approach to consumer health education.

Reliable source

Produced in collaboration with medical experts and national health organizations, is a non-commercial informational resource available to the public. At, people will find:

  • Credible resources and links
  • Health news
  • Expert Q&As
  • Links to health tools and calculators
  • In-depth articles

Consumers can also register for the monthly Spotlight newsletter and news alerts. For information about family-focused health topics—including childhood obesity, drug safety and teen dating violence–and to see more life stories, visit

About Be Smart. Be Well. is sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, Divisions of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

SOURCE Health Care Service Corporation