10 January 2014

Fridays from the Archives: Smart Phones

Friday, January 10, 2014: Smart Phones

At the 2013 ISDS Conference in New Orleans in December we learned about innovative surveillance methods used across the globe. As technology evolves, so too does the ability to improve surveillance strategy and technique.

The Boston University School of Public Health Electronic Data Capture Team worked on integrating existing technologies in new ways, mainly focusing internationally. In 2011 three members of the team, Marion McNabb, MPH, Laura Khurana (then MPH candidate) and Chris Gill, MD, MS presented on their work in Data Collection, Management, and Surveillance: Using Smart Phones in Smart Ways.

Data from smart phones have a number of advantages including accessibility and ease of transmission and receipt. Though some technologies see sudden surges with equally sudden declines in use, cellphone use in general is still rapidly increasing worldwide. As of 2011, phones had been successfully used in surveillance for a number of uses including: Dengue Fever monitoring in Mexico; Real-time outbreak monitoring in mass gatherings, such as the 2009 Hajj; and infectious disease reporting after an earthquake in China (additional details on slide #36 of presentation).

With a number of disparate uses, smart phone surveillance can work with traditional surveillance methods, as well as in place of them. In low resource settings this combination is particularly useful.

This post is part of the series Fridays from the Archives. You can access all posts in the series here.

Written by Becky Zwickl, MPH, ISDS Public Health Analyst (bzwickl@syndromic.org)

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