Online Program

Online vaccine information in knowledge exchange social websites: Accuracy and predictors

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Desa Yadegarians, Department of Health Science, California State University Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Linda Meng, Department of Health Science, California State University Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Farah Karipineni, MD, MPH, Albert Einstein Medical Center
Nicholas Gorman, MPH, Ed.D., School of Nursing, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA
Fiona Ka Wa Gorman, MPH, EdD, Health Science Department, California State University Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
background: California’s recent measles outbreak, a preventable disease declared eradicated in 2000, highlights the importance of the public’s vaccine knowledge. Past research has shown considerable misinformation about vaccines exists online (Kata, 2012) and that misinformation influences perceptions of vaccine risks (Betsch, Renkewitz, Betsch, Ulshöfer, 2010). However, to date little research has been directed towards knowledge exchange social websites (KESWs). These Web 2.0 sites allow users to anonymously solicit and provide medical advice. Because submitted answers are not verified and responders’ qualifications may be falsified, the risks posed by these websites warrants rigorous evaluation.

methods: A KESW was selected on the basis of its popularity, the prevalence of posted vaccine questions, and features enabling the retrieval of questions by country.  Five hundred recent vaccine questions from the U.S. that were marked as resolved (i.e. questions with a selected Best Answer) were retrieved and evaluated for accuracy. Answer characteristics, such as inclusion of citations, were recorded as potential predictors of accuracy.

results: The types of questions asked are categorized by theme (ex: efficacy, side effects, etc). Submitted answers’ overall accuracy and accuracy by theme are presented. Logistic regression modeling will be run to detect predictors of accuracy.

implications: Given online information’s potential influence on the public’s knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to vaccinations, public health strategies and policies for addressing online misinformation are needed. This study serves as a first step by quantifying the extent and nature of misinformation in the under-studied and high-risk setting of KESWs.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Communication and informatics
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe the risks of using knowledge exchange social websites as sources of health information. Discuss the accuracy of health information on knowledge exchange social websites. Identify the predictors of online health information on knowledge exchange social websites.

Keyword(s): Information Technology, Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an undergraduate student researcher serving as the lead research assistant under the supervision of Dr. Fiona Gorman, a professor of health science who has conducted previous research on knowledge exchange social websites. In addition to receiving training from Dr. Gorman, I have also been trained on the topic of vaccination by Dr. Farah Karipineni who is physician.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.