Information is in the eye of the beholder: Seeking information on the MMR vaccine through an Internet search engine

Elad Yom-Tov, Luis Fernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


Vaccination campaigns are one of the most important and successful public health programs ever undertaken. People who want to learn about vaccines in order to make an informed decision on whether to vaccinate are faced with a wealth of information on the Internet, both for and against vaccinations. In this paper we develop an automated way to score Internet search queries and web pages as to the likelihood that a person making these queries or reading those pages would decide to vaccinate. We apply this method to data from a major Internet search engine, while people seek information about the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine. We show that our method is accurate, and use it to learn about the information acquisition process of people. Our results show that people who are pro-vaccination as well as people who are anti-vaccination seek similar information, but browsing this information has differing effect on their future browsing. These findings demonstrate the need for health authorities to tailor their information according to the current stance of users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1238-1247
Number of pages10
JournalAMIA ... Annual Symposium proceedings / AMIA Symposium. AMIA Symposium
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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