PhD with distinction for ACHC-PhD candidate Minh Hao Nguyen

Published on May 10 2019 – On 25 April 2019, Minh Hao Nguyen obtained her doctorate at the University of Amsterdam with the designation ‘cum laude’ (with distinction). The dissertation is entitled ‘A novel approach to tailored communication: Optimizing online health information for older patients’.

In recent years, the number and use of health websites has grown enormously. Patients, including older patients, are increasingly looking online for information to prepare for consultations or to complement or check the information from consultations. Nguyen investigated whether tailoring online health information to visual preferences (for text, images and video) of older cancer patients (65+) can support them in their conversations with healthcare providers.

She conducted five studies (two experimental studies, a field study, a website development study and a randomized controlled trial among cancer patients) among over 1200 people. With her research, Nguyen shows that tailoring online health information to personal preferences is a promising strategy to optimize the effectiveness of this information for cancer patients, regardless of their age. The results of the research are therefore relevant for communication professionals, intervention designers and healthcare providers in developing effective online health information for patients in a digital age.

This research funded by the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF Kankerbestrijding). The project was a collaboration between the Amsterdam School of Communication Science/ASCoRand the department of Medical Psychologyat the Amsterdam UMC, location AMC. The randomized controlled trial was conducted in collaboration with the Gastro-Intestinal Oncological Centre Amsterdam (GIOCA) of the Amsterdam UMC, location AMC. The dissertation was supervised by Prof. dr. Julia van Weert (UvA), Prof. dr. Ellen Smets (AMC-UvA), Prof. dr. Eugène Loos (UvA) and dr. Nadine Bol (UvA).

Hao Nguyen ( is now a Senior Research & Teaching Associate at the University of Zurich. The dissertation is available here.