WHO is delighted to announce that its 5th infodemic management conference will be held between 2 – 11 November 2021. This conference will bring together global experts over four sessions for discussions about quantifying the impact of the infodemic on public health, and the effectiveness of measures to mitigate the infodemic.
The infodemic is leading to confusion and risk-taking behaviours that can be harmful to health, as well as to mistrust in health authorities and public health responses. WHO is developing tools to provide an evidence-based response to the infodemic, enabling prioritisation of health response activities. The focus of this conference will be metrics and indicators for measuring the burden of the infodemic and the impact of related interventions.
While previous conferences have expanded our understanding of infodemic drivers and social listening approaches, there is a need for more rigorous and standardised approaches to measuring impact. The conference discussions will raise awareness of the gaps in metrics required to connect exposure to information with health outcomes. Experts will explore proposals for study designs and approaches that can estimate infodemic burden, as well as approaches, measures and indicators that can evaluate effectiveness of infodemic management interventions.
The conference will aim to develop a work plan in response to the first workstream identified in the WHO public health research agenda for managing infodemics, focussed on measuring and monitoring the burden of infodemics. Significant progress has been made in many areas of infodemic response since the start of the pandemic, and this conference continues to build the tools and expertise needed to move towards a more coordinated and evidence-based approach to managing the infodemic.
The conference will convene a multidisciplinary team of scientists and public health decision-makers, to address metrics, evaluation and study design. Discussions will be structured over the following session areas:
- Session 1: Managing infodemics – perspectives on measurement and metrics
- Session 2: Burden of infodemic – approaches to study design and metrics
- Session 3: Evaluating impact of infodemic management interventions
- Session 4: A work plan for managing estimating burden of infodemic and evaluation of impact of mitigation interventions
It is expected that outcomes of the conference will include a conceptual framework to assess the burden of infodemics on health and wellbeing, as well as draft research instruments to measure the impact of information on health behaviours and outcomes. These tools will continue to respond to the WHO public health research agenda for managing infodemics and priorities identified at previous conferences.