Infodemiology: a key issue for Web 2.0 in Health

May 30, 2007

In 2002 Gunter Eysenbach wrote “Infodemiology: The Epidemiology of (Mis)information” describing the emergence of a new research discipline and methodology focus on the study of the determinants and distribution of health information and misinformation. As the author said

Information epidemiology, or infodemiology, identifies areas where there is a knowledge translation gap between best evidence (what some experts know) and practice (what most people do or believe), as well as markers for “high-quality” information.

So there is gap between scientific knowledge and lay knowledge related to the information available on the Net. This gap could be tackled increasing communication between the health professional, those who produce the scientific knowledge, and citizens, those who consume the scientific knowledge. But are most of the health professional available on line? Are they using the Web 2.0 tools to communicate with their patients? Are health care organizations providing these tools? Are Hospital Information Systems ready to facilitate these kind of interactions?

Without a doubt the Internet has increased the amount of the available health information but it does not have the same consequences on the communication process. As far as Web 2.0 is related to interaction there is still a long way for these kind of applications in Health.