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MANUSCRIPT: Putting the Public into Public Health Information Dissemination: Social Media and Health-related Web Pages

Public health information dissemination represents an interesting combination of broadcasting, sharing, and retrieving relevant health information. Social media-based public health information dissemination offers some particularly interesting characteristics, as individual users or members of the public actually carry out the actions that constitute the dissemination. These actions also may inherently provide novel evaluative information from a document computing perspective, providing information in relation to both documents and indeed the social media users or health consumers themselves. This paper discusses the novel aspects of social media-based public health information dissemination, including a comparison of its characteristics with search engine-based Web document retrieval. A preliminary analysis of a sample of public health advice tweets taken from a larger sample of over 4700 tweets sent by Australian health-related organization in February 2012 is described. Various preliminary measures are analyzed from this data to initially suggest possible characteristics of public health information dissemination and document evaluation in micro-blog-based systems based on this sample.

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Brian is a research scientist and educational technologist. He helped transform Pfizer’s Medical Education Group and previously served in educational leadership roles at HealthAnswers, Inc.; Acumentis, LLC.; Cephalon; and Wyeth. He taught graduate medical education programs at Arcadia University for 10 years. Dr. McGowan recently authored the book "#socialQI: Simple Solutions for Improving Your Healthcare" and has been invited to speak internationally on the subject of information flow, technology, and learning in healthcare.

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