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The Effect of an Automated Phone Warning and Health Advisory System on Adaptation to High Heat Episodes and Health Services Use in Vulnerable Groups—Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Study

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Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, School of Public Administration and Development Economics, P.O. Box: 200592, Zone 70, Al Tarfa Street Al-Daayen, Doha, Qatar
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Institut National de la Santé Publique and Ouranos, 945 Avenue Wolfe, Québec, QC G1V 5B3, Canada
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Direction de Santé Publique de la Montérégie, 1255 rue Beauregard, Longueuil, QC J4K 2M3, Canada
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(8), 1581; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081581
Received: 27 June 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 23 July 2018 / Published: 25 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extreme Weather Events and Health)
Automated phone warning systems are increasingly used by public health authorities to protect the population from the adverse effects of extreme heat but little is known about their performance. To fill this gap, this article reports the result of a study on the impact of an automated phone heat warning system on adaptation behaviours and health services use. A sample of 1328 individuals vulnerable to heat was constituted for this purpose and participants were randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. The day before a heat episode, a phone heat warning was sent to the treatment group. Data were obtained through two surveys before and one survey after the heat warning issuance. The results show that members of the treatment group were more aware of how to protect themselves from heat and more likely to adopt the recommended behaviours. Moreover, a much smaller proportion of women in this group used the health-care system compared to the control group. Thus, the exposure to an automated phone warning seems to improve the adaptation to heat and reduce the use of health services by some important at-risk groups. This method can thus be used to complement public health interventions aimed at reducing heat-related health risks. View Full-Text
Keywords: automated phone warning systems; heat waves warnings; public health; impact evaluation; randomized controlled trial design; climate change adaptation automated phone warning systems; heat waves warnings; public health; impact evaluation; randomized controlled trial design; climate change adaptation
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Mehiriz, K.; Gosselin, P.; Tardif, I.; Lemieux, M.-A. The Effect of an Automated Phone Warning and Health Advisory System on Adaptation to High Heat Episodes and Health Services Use in Vulnerable Groups—Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1581.

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