Infodemiology, an emerging area of research at the crossroads of consumer health informatics and public health informatics, as well as infometrics and web analytics tools, can be defined as the science of distribution and determinants of information in an electronic medium, specifically the Internet, with the ultimate aim to inform public health and public policy. Infodemiology data (derived from unstructured, textual, openly accessible information produced and consumed by the public on the Internet, such as blogs, websites, and query and navigation data) can be collected and analyzed in near real-time. We developed a proof-of-concept infoveillance system called Infovigil, which can identify, archive, and analyze health-related information from Twitter and other information streams from Internet and social media sources. The system was developed to demonstrate and explore the potential of infoveillance for measuring public attention, attitudes, behavior, knowledge, and information consumption, as well as for syndromic surveillance, health communication, and knowledge translation research.
Eysenbach G. Infodemiology and infoveillance tracking online health information and cyberbehavior for public health. Am J Prev Med. 2011 May;40(5 Suppl 2):S154-158.