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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Infodemic Management

Since COVID-19 vaccines became broadly available to the adult population, sharp divergences in uptake have emerged along partisan lines. Researchers have indicated a polarized social media presence contributing to the spread of mis- or disinformation as being responsible for these growing partisan gaps in uptake.

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Infodemic Management

Messages on one’s stance toward vaccination on microblogging sites may affect the reader’s decision on whether to receive a vaccine. Understanding the dissemination of provaccine and antivaccine messages relating to COVID-19 on social media is crucial; however, studies on this topic have remained limited.

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Infoveillance and Social Listening

Largely absent from research on how users appraise the credibility of professionals as sources for the information they find on social media is work investigating factors shaping credibility within a specific profession, such as physicians.

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Health and Risk Communication

Skin cancer is among the deadliest forms of cancer in the United States. The American Cancer Society reported that 3 million skin cancer cases could be avoided every year if individuals are more aware of the risk factors related to sun exposure and prevention. Social media platforms may serve as potential intervention modalities that can be used to raise public awareness of several diseases and health conditions, including skin cancer. Social media platforms are efficient, cost-effective tools for health-related content that can reach a broad number of individuals who are already using these spaces in their day-to-day personal lives. Instagram was launched in 2010, and it is now used by 1 billion users, of which 90% are under the age of 35 years. Despite previous research highlighting the potential of image-based platforms in skin cancer prevention and leveraging Instagram’s popularity among the priority population to raise awareness, there is still a lack of studies describing skin cancer–related content on Instagram.

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Health and Risk Communication

Synthetic cannabinoids are a significant public health concern, especially among incarcerated populations due to increased reports of abuse. Recent news reports have highlighted the severe consequences of K2/Spice, a synthetic cannabinoid, among the prison population in the United States. Despite regulations against cell phone use, inmates use TikTok to post K2/Spice-related content.

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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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