Background: The Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) collects nationally representative data about the American’s public use of health-related information. This survey is available in English and Spanish, but not in American Sign Language (ASL). Thus, the exclusion of ASL users from these national health information survey studies has led to a significant gap in knowledge of Internet usage for health information access in this underserved and understudied population.
Objective: The objectives of this study are (1) to culturally adapt and linguistically translate the HINTS items to ASL (HINTS-ASL); and (2) to gather information about deaf people’s health information seeking behaviors across technology-mediated platforms.
Methods: We modified the standard procedures developed at the US National Center for Health Statistics Cognitive Survey Laboratory to culturally adapt and translate HINTS items to ASL. Cognitive interviews were conducted to assess clarity and delivery of these HINTS-ASL items. Final ASL video items were uploaded to a protected online survey website. The HINTS-ASL online survey has been administered to over 1350 deaf adults (ages 18 to 90 and up) who use ASL. Data collection is ongoing and includes deaf adult signers across the United States.
Results: Some items from HINTS item bank required cultural adaptation for use with deaf people who use accessible services or technology. A separate item bank for deaf-related experiences was created, reflecting deaf-specific technology such as sharing health-related ASL videos through social network sites and using video remote interpreting services in health settings. After data collection is complete, we will conduct a series of analyses on deaf people’s health information seeking behaviors across technology-mediated platforms.
Conclusions: HINTS-ASL is an accessible health information national trends survey, which includes a culturally appropriate set of items that are relevant to the experiences of deaf people who use ASL. The final HINTS-ASL product will be available for public use upon completion of this study.