Twitter App Helps Identify Outbreaks

A new Twitter app called MappyHealth has been developed to track diseases and can be used to identify health issues and possible outbreaks in a community.  Developed in response to the NowTrending2012 application challenge sponsored by the HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), MappyHealth is intended to help make social media data more accessible to local health departments.

Because so many Web-based applications for observing public health trends are retrospective and there was a need for real-time observations, the ASPR created the challenge, where apps had to use open-source Twitter data to provide the top five trending illnesses in a specific region over a 24-hour period. MappyHealth was the winning submission and allows health agencies to cross-reference its data with conventional public health surveillance systems in order to more quickly determine emerging public health emergencies.

Electronic Health Records software like Medisoft Clinical, Lytec MD, and McKesson Practice Choice can also aid in the expanding public health field with connections to health information exchanges.  Microwize Technology (@microwize) is a leading reseller of these EHR systems.