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
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) launched in 2021 (recently passed Scientific and Technical Evaluation for PubMed Central/PubMed) is a Scopus, DOAJ, CABI-indexed, peer reviewed journal, focusing on determinants and the distribution of health information and misinformation on the internet, and its effect on public and individual health. The new scientific discipline of "Infodemiology," first introduced in 2002, has been gaining momentum due to the COVID-19 infodemic, with the WHO recognizing it 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 more than a decade. We are 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, data science, 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.
Social media has served as a lucrative platform for spreading misinformation and for promoting fraudulent products for the treatment, testing, and prevention of COVID-19. This has resulted in the issuance of many warning letters by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While social media continues to serve as the primary platform for the promotion of such fraudulent products, it also presents the opportunity to identify these products early by using effective social media mining methods.
Social media has emerged as a critical mass communication tool, with both health information and misinformation now spread widely on the web. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, some public figures promulgated anti-vaccine attitudes, which spread widely on social media platforms. Although anti-vaccine sentiment has pervaded social media throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unclear to what extent interest in public figures is generating anti-vaccine discourse.
Burnout and the mental health burden of the COVID-19 pandemic have disproportionately impacted health care workers. The links between state policies, federal regulations, COVID-19 case counts, strains on health care systems, and the mental health of health care workers continue to evolve. The language used by state and federal legislators in public-facing venues such as social media is important, as it impacts public opinion and behavior, and it also reflects current policy-leader opinions and planned legislation.
An infodemic is excess information, including false or misleading information, that spreads in digital and physical environments during a public health emergency. The COVID-19 pandemic has been accompanied by an unprecedented global infodemic that has led to confusion about the benefits of medical and public health interventions, with substantial impact on risk-taking and health-seeking behaviors, eroding trust in health authorities and compromising the effectiveness of public health responses and policies. Standardized measures are needed to quantify the harmful impacts of the infodemic in a systematic and methodologically robust manner, as well as harmonizing highly divergent approaches currently explored for this purpose. This can serve as a foundation for a systematic, evidence-based approach to monitoring, identifying, and mitigating future infodemic harms in emergency preparedness and prevention.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an effective method for treating opioid use disorder (OUD), which combines behavioral therapies with one of three Food and Drug Administration–approved medications: methadone, buprenorphine, and naloxone. While MAT has been shown to be effective initially, there is a need for more information from the patient perspective about the satisfaction with medications. Existing research focuses on patient satisfaction with the entirety of the treatment, making it difficult to determine the unique role of medication and overlooking the views of those who may lack access to treatment due to being uninsured or concerns over stigma. Studies focusing on patients’ perspectives are also limited by the lack of scales that can efficiently collect self-reports across domains of concerns.
South Asians, inclusive of individuals originating in India, Pakistan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Nepal, comprise the largest diaspora in the world, with large South Asian communities residing in the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, and elsewhere. There is evidence that South Asian communities have disproportionately experienced COVID-19 infections and mortality. WhatsApp, a free messaging app, is widely used in transnational communication within the South Asian diaspora. Limited studies exist on COVID-19–related misinformation specific to the South Asian community on WhatsApp. Understanding communication on WhatsApp may improve public health messaging to address COVID-19 disparities among South Asian communities worldwide.
Public health agencies widely adopt social media for health and risk communication. Moreover, different platforms have different affordances, which may impact the quality and nature of the messaging and how the public engages with the content. However, these platform effects are not often compared in studies of health and risk communication and not previously for the COVID-19 pandemic.
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