Gathering honest feedback during health education

Using TurningPoint polling software to address misconceptions about health risk behaviors


The Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) is one of the top-rated medical groups in California with more than 6,000 employees and physicians working in over a dozen locations across the San Francisco Bay area.

Educational instruction is a key element to the development and growth of the organization’s mission to raise awareness about vital health issues and risk behaviors. In collaboration with schools, law enforcement and other health care groups, PAMF offers classes, lectures and interactive community outreach programs designed to help people better understand health concerns and learn the necessary skills to make quality decisions that promote, maintain and restore one’s health.

As manager of Health Education, Becky Beacom creates and coordinates patient education classes and community events centered on primary health risk issues impacting the region. One area of focus explores teen health and hidden risk factors for engaging in risky behaviors.

“The objective is to reveal the truth about the impact of misperceptions that overestimate risk and underestimate the health of their peers,” stated Beacom. “The challenge as a presenter is you do not want to make people feel bad, but instead have an open and powerful discussion about viewpoints.”

Becky’s presentation setup involved participants taking a paper survey, crumpling it up and then tossing it around the room several times to keep them anonymous. While she presented, two people tallied the results, which would be incorporated for an open discussion. Becky admitted the process wasted valuable time and wanted to find a solution that would allow the organization to present dynamic, interactive lectures while collecting responses in real time.


Becky integrated Turning Technologies’ TurningPoint interactive polling software and audience response systems after she witnessed the success that came with the solutions while participating in several workshops focused on the use of social norms marketing to reduce alcohol use among high school and college-age students.

“We continue to find new ways to utilize clicker technology in our efforts to find more meaningful, respectful ways to engage youth and other audiences around matters of their own health.”

Becky Beacom
Manager of Health Education
Palo Alto Medical Foundation

“The Palo Alto Medical Foundation takes on the approach of analyzing perceptions, and, with TurningPoint and response keypads, I have the opportunity to ask participants a series of questions about perceptions involving their peers and what they think is happening regarding health risk behaviors in real time,” stated Beacom. “We then come back to each question to review the results and discuss why and what contribute to how we think, which is very powerful.”

Becky incorporated the technology throughout a variety of lectures and venues, from an intimate classroom setting to discuss sensitive health tips to an auditorium of more than 150 people talking about adolescent health and parenting.


The Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s adoption of TurningPoint and response devices continues to flourish. The organization utilized two sets of clickers to be administered in classes and outreach programs throughout the northern California region.

“We continue to find new ways to utilize clicker technology in our efforts to find more meaningful, respectful ways to engage youth and other audiences around matters of their own health,” stated Beacom. Moving forward, PAMF plans to incorporate Turning Technologies’ solutions in many different capacities.