March 2022 Newsletter


UConn Center for mHealth and Social Media, 6th Annual Conference

Telehealth and Remote Care in a Post-Pandemic WorldMay 19-20, 2022

Abstract Submissions: Deadline Monday, March 14th, 12AM PT
Registration open now until May 17, 2022 11:59 PM ET

Telehealth utilization grew by 78 fold during the pandemic as the need for safe means to access and deliver healthcare was greater than ever. This rapid expansion of telehealth was enabled by regulatory changes, some temporary and some permanent, which expanded reimbursement for telehealth-delivered care. Given that patient and provider willingness to use telehealth and the skills to do so have increased, a roadmap is now needed for virtual care models that serve the goals of improving access to care, outcomes, and affordability. This virtual conference will feature topics including health equity, asynchronous interventions and care, and telehealth and the patient experience.

International Society for Research on Internet Interventions (ISRII) 11th Scientific Meeting

Pittsburgh, PA | September 19-21, 2022
Storm Clouds and Silver Linings: How Digital Technologies Have Helped Us Weather the COVID Pandemic

Abstract Submissions: Deadline Friday, April 15th
Early Registration
will open Monday, April 18th

Digital health has evolved tremendously since 2004 when ISRII held its first Scientific Meeting. Back then, the release of the first iPhone that launched the modern smartphone era was still three years away, and Internet interventions have expanded to encompass the fields of mobile health, social media, artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality, wearables, and more. The theme for ISRII’s 11th Scientific Meeting is Storm Clouds and Silver Linings: How Digital Technologies Have Helped Us Weather the COVID Pandemic. Attend ISRII 11 to stay informed on the latest international developments and trends in digital health, network with colleagues, and share your research! 

Call for Papers

JMIR Publications is delighted to announce a collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) in publishing a theme issue entitled Chatbots and COVID-19". Deadline is April 30, 2022

Recent Social Media and Health Publications

Allem J, Majmundar A, Dormanesh A, Donaldson S. (2022). Identifying Health-Related Discussions of Cannabis Use on Twitter by Using a Medical Dictionary: Content Analysis of Tweets. JMIR Form Res, 6(2):e35027. DOI: 10.2196/35027

Co-authored by PRISM Steering Committee member, Dr. Jon-Patrick Allem, this study attempted to determine the extent to which a medical dictionary—the Unified Medical Language System Consumer Health Vocabulary—could identify cannabis-related motivations for use and health consequences of cannabis use based on Twitter posts. The validation process indicated that the medical dictionary could identify health-related conversations in 31% (341/1092) of posts. Specifically, 20% (223/1092) of posts were accurately identified as posts related to a health-related motivation for cannabis use, while 11% (118/1092) of posts were accurately identified as posts related to a health-related consequence from cannabis use. The health-related conversations about cannabis use included those about issues with the respiratory system, stress to the immune system, and gastrointestinal issues.

Chen E, Jiang J, Chang H, Muric G, Ferrara E. (2022). Charting the Information and Misinformation Landscape to Characterize Misinfodemics on Social Media: COVID-19 Infodemiology Study at a Planetary Scale. JMIR Infodemiology,2(1):e32378. DOI: 10.2196/32378.

This study carried out an analysis of Twitter discourse on over 1 billion tweets related to COVID-19 to identify and investigate prevalent misinformation narratives and trends, as well as describe the Twitter audience most susceptible to health-related misinformation and the network mechanisms driving misinfodemics. When analyzing tweets that shared content from domains known to be questionable or that promoted misinformation, a few key misinformation narratives emerged about hydroxychloroquine and alternative medicines, US officials and governing agencies, and COVID-19 prevention measures. Further analysis of the misinformation retweet network found that users who shared both questionable and conspiracy-related content were clustered more closely in the network than others, supporting the hypothesis that echo chambers can contribute to the spread of health misinfodemics.

Mackey T, Baur C, Eysenbach G. (2022). Advancing Infodemiology in a Digital Intensive Era. JMIR Infodemiology, 2(1):e37115. DOI: 10.2196/37115

Co-authored by PRISM Steering Committee member, Dr. Timothy Mackey, this editorial presents the history of misinformation and the current state of the field of infodemiology. As experts in the field, the authors share their vision for the future of infodemiology to face new public health challenges in this digital age. To support this vision, JMIR Infodemiology aims “to foster the development of a multistakeholder and multidisciplinary community of researchers, practitioners, and advocates with shared goals of advancing the field of infodemiology to improve health outcomes and tackle other critical social challenges in what is now a digitally intensive era.”

Meacham, M. C., Nobles, A. L., Tompkins, D. A., & Thrul, J. (2022). "I got a bunch of weed to help me through the withdrawals": Naturalistic cannabis use reported in online opioid and opioid recovery community discussion forums. PloS one, 17(2):e0263583. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0263583

This study co-authored by PRISM Steering Committee member, Dr. Meredith Meacham, examines cannabis-related posts in two large online communities on the Reddit platform (“subreddits”) to compare mentions of naturalistic cannabis use by persons self-identifying as actively using opioids versus persons in recovery. Authors found that cannabis-related posts were about twice as prevalent in the recovery subreddit (5.4%, 908/16,791 posts) than in the active opioid use subreddit (2.6%, 4,224/159,994 posts). The most frequent phrases from the recovery subreddit referred to time without using opioids and the possibility of using cannabis as a “treatment.” The most frequent phrases from the opioid subreddit referred to concurrent use of cannabis and opioids. The most common motivations for using cannabis were to manage opioid withdrawal symptoms in the recovery subreddit, often in conjunction with anti-anxiety and GI-distress “comfort meds,” and to enhance the “high” when used in combination with opioids in the opioid subreddit.