Keep track of global contagion trends with Outbreak Watch
If you’re into diseases, viruses, contagions or STDs, you’ll want to check out the new app Outbreak Watch. Wait, did we just write that sentence?
Although somewhat of a niche app, for people in health-related fields (or if you just happen to be a CDC Biohazard Level 4 virologist) you’ll definitely want to check out Outbreak Watch. The app itself is beautifully Metro with clean black backgrounds and bold, text driven data compiled from “social networks”.
Let’s step back a moment. The app is part of AgileMedicine who’s globally known for their role in healthcare data management. There was the “Now Trending Challenge” proposed by the US government (specifically the U.S. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, or just ASPR) with the goal of collecting trending data from Twitter and analyzing it for latest trends in disease. This app is the result of that challenge.
Data is collected on Twitter and then analyzed for disease-trends by the Biosurveillance Network. Oh yeah, we forgot to mention there’s a Biosurveillance Network made by Agile Medicine. You can read more about that here: http://www.outbreakwatch.com/home/about.
Snapshot from the Biosurveillance Network website
Needless to say, this is all very cool stuff and now you can pretend to be Dustin Hoffman (circa 1995) by using the official app called Outbreak Watch.
Getting back to that app, it has a general trending graph, alert index and numbers compiled in the last 24 hours. Slide to the right and now you can geographically isolate the data worldwide, by U.S. state or by country. From there you can see what diseases are on the rise and which are on the decline. For instance, STDs are down today in New York (giggity) but Cholera and mosquito borne disease are up…damn.
Finally, there is a Twitter feed for Health Watch (@Health_Watch) which gives frequent updates on medical news and a Live Tile that features the latest Alert Index.
Outbreak Watch is a very well designed app for a great cause. While the focus is niche, anyone can pick it up for free and take a gander as the info collected. You can even pretend to be that hardnosed scientist that no one listens to and mutter to yourself “Oh my god…” when looking at the data for extra drama.
Pick up Outbreak Watch here in the Marketplace for Windows Phone (regional availability may vary) and visit Agile Medicine for more info about the project.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.