Collaborators at University of Virginia will analyze social media to identify adverse drug reactions much faster than existing methods.
The promise of social media as an early-warning system for adverse drug reactions. They analyzed four types of public online media (websites, blogs, Web forums and social networking sites) posted from 2000 to early 2012 and were able to identify hundreds of thousands of documents containing adverse drug reaction-related information. The preliminary results suggest that these documents can accurately provide warnings earlier – in some cases, years earlier – than existing channels.
Online medical information is plagued by medical Web spam: countless pages of medical misinformation designed to exploit consumer fears and sell unregulated remedies ranging from herbal remedies for arthritis to anti-aging skin creams. Experts estimate that more than 20% of all medical information on the Web is spam.