Infodemiology can be defined as the science of distribution and determinants of information in an electronic medium, specifically the Internet, or in a population, with the ultimate aim to inform public health and public policy. Infodemiology data can be collected and analyzed in near real time. Examples for infodemiology applications include: the analysis of queries from Internet search engines to predict disease outbreaks (eg. influenza); monitoring peoples' status updates on microblogs such as Twitter for syndromic surveillance; detecting and quantifying disparities in health information availability; identifying and monitoring of public health relevant publications on the Internet (eg. anti-vaccination sites, but also news articles or expert-curated outbreak reports); automated tools to measure information diffusion and knowledge translation, and tracking the effectiveness of health marketing campaigns. Moreover, analyzing how people search and navigate the Internet for health-related information, as well as how they communicate and share this information, can provide valuable insights into health-related behavior of populations. [Ed Note: Links Added]
Then there are the more deliberate uses of new technologies for open source epidemiology.
[Update} Italicized text from
Infodemiology and Infoveillance: Framework for an Emerging Set of
Public Health Informatics Methods to Analyze Search, Communication and
Publication Behavior on the Internet
J Med Internet Res 2009;11(1):e11
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