JMIR Infodemiology

Focusing on determinants and distribution of health information and misinformation on the internet, and its effect on public and individual health.

Editor-in-Chief:

Tim Ken Mackey, MAS, PhD, Professor, University of California San Diego; Director, Healthcare Research & Policy, University of California San Diego - Extension; Director, Global Health Policy and Data Institute


JMIR Infodemiology (JI, ISSN 2564-1891, Editor-in-Chief: Tim Ken Mackey) is a new journal (launched in 2021) focusing on determinants and distribution of health information and misinformation on the internet, and its effect on public and individual health; a new scientific discipline that has has been called "Infodemiology" in 2002, and which has been gaining momentum in the COVID-19 related infodemic in 2020, with WHO recognizing this as an important pillar to manage public health emergencies. JMIR Publications is proud to have been spearheading the advancement of this new scientific discipline for the past decade or more, and is now accelerating the development of this new interdisciplinary discipline with the first and only journal devoted to this rapidly evolving field, by bringing together thought leaders in research and policy. Areas of interest include information monitoring (infoveillance, including social listening); ehealth literacy and science literacy; knowledge refinement and quality improvement processes and policies; and the influence of political and commercial interests on effective knowledge translation. 

Recent Articles

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Infoveillance and Social Listening

The risk of infection and severity of illness by SARS-CoV-2 infection is elevated for people who smoke cigarettes and may motivate quitting. Organic public conversations on Twitter about quitting smoking could provide insight into quitting motivations or behaviors associated with the pandemic.

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Infoveillance and Social Listening

As access barriers to in-person abortion care increase due to legal restrictions and COVID-19–related disruptions, individuals may be turning to the internet for information and services on out-of-clinic medication abortions. Google searches allow us to explore timely population-level interest in this topic and assess its implications.

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Infodemic Management

Healthcare Information for All (HIFA) is a multidisciplinary global campaign consisting of more than 20,000 members worldwide committed to improving the availability and use of health care information in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). During the COVID-19 pandemic, online HIFA forums saw a tremendous amount of discussion regarding the lack of information about COVID-19, the spread of misinformation, and the pandemic’s impact on different communities.

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Vaccination Sentiment and Anti-Vaccination Infodemiology

COVID-19 vaccines are considered one of the most effective ways for containing the COVID-19 pandemic, but Japan lagged behind other countries in vaccination in the early stages. A deeper understanding of the slow progress of vaccination in Japan can be instructive for COVID-19 booster vaccination and vaccinations during future pandemics.

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Infoveillance and Social Listening

Among racial and ethnic minority groups, the risk of HIV infection is an ongoing public health challenge. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is highly effective for preventing HIV when taken as prescribed. However, there is a need to understand the experiences, attitudes, and barriers of PrEP for racial and ethnic minority populations and sexual minority groups.

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Viewpoints

The health information management (HIM) field’s contribution to health care delivery is invaluable in a pandemic context where the need for accurate diagnoses will hasten responsive, evidence-based decision-making. The COVID-19 pandemic offers a unique opportunity to transform the practice of HIM and bring more awareness to the role that frontline workers play behind the scenes in safeguarding reliable, comprehensive, accurate, and timely health information. This transformation will support future research, utilization management, public health surveillance, and forecasting and enable key stakeholders to plan and ensure equitable health care resource allocation, especially for the most vulnerable populations. In this paper, we juxtapose critical health literacy, public policy, and HIM perspectives to understand the COVID-19 infodemic and new opportunities for HIM in infodemic management.

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Infoveillance and Social Listening

The search for health information from web-based resources raises opportunities to inform the service operations of health care systems. Google Trends search query data have been used to study public health topics, such as seasonal influenza, suicide, and prescription drug abuse; however, there is a paucity of literature using Google Trends data to improve emergency department patient-volume forecasting.

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Infoveillance and Social Listening

Black women in the United States disproportionately suffer adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes compared to White women. Economic adversity and implicit bias during clinical encounters may lead to physiological responses that place Black women at higher risk for adverse birth outcomes. The novel coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) further exacerbated this risk, as safety protocols increased social isolation in clinical settings, thereby limiting opportunities to advocate for unbiased care. Twitter, 1 of the most popular social networking sites, has been used to study a variety of issues of public interest, including health care. This study considers whether posts on Twitter accurately reflect public discourse during the COVID-19 pandemic and are being used in infodemiology studies by public health experts.

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Vaccination Sentiment and Anti-Vaccination Infodemiology

A global rollout of vaccinations is currently underway to mitigate and protect people from the COVID-19 pandemic. Several individuals have been using social media platforms such as Twitter as an outlet to express their feelings, concerns, and opinions about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination programs. This study examined COVID-19 vaccine–related tweets from January 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021, to uncover the topics, themes, and variations in sentiments of public Twitter users.

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Infodemic Management

The word “infodemic” refers to the deluge of false information about an event, and it is a global challenge for today’s society. The sheer volume of misinformation circulating during the COVID-19 pandemic has been harmful to people around the world. Therefore, it is important to study different aspects of misinformation related to the pandemic.

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Health and Risk Communication

There is need to consider the value of soft intelligence, leveraged using accessible natural language processing (NLP) tools, as a source of analyzed evidence to support public health research outputs and decision-making.

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Health and Risk Communication

In a prior study at the start of the pandemic, we reported reduced numbers of Google searches for the term “conjunctivitis” in the United States in March and April 2020 compared with prior years. As one explanation, we conjectured that reduced information-seeking may have resulted from social distancing reducing contagious conjunctivitis cases. Here, after 1 year of continued implementation of social distancing, we asked if there have been persistent reductions in searches for “conjunctivitis,” and similarly for other communicable disease terms, compared to control terms.

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