A revolution for health? An exploration of detecting meaning and sentiment in user-generated social media and web content


  • Jamie Bartlett


Project summary

A growing number of people use the Internet to find information on medical problems, to chat in online health forums and even to self-diagnose and self-medicate. This has created new, very large datasets of unregulated, user-generated health data.

This study will explore whether this data can be exploited to spot trends in citizen-generated unregulated health data online, using a pilot study drawn from mental health. It will also provide useable and robust insights for health professionals and clinicians that will enable them to spot emerging trends and provide early warning signs when there might be a lack of official provision, providing online data that could inform future responses. The project aims to give a better understanding of public and patient attitudes and feedback towards certain types of prescription and treatment, and the risks and opportunities presented to patients through the medical information available online. Ethical considerations, such as when and where informed consent is required, will be explored, and help inform whether this information can be used by clinicians and health services.