Published On: Wed, May 4th, 2016

Tweets can predict asthma-related emergencies



Researchers have concluded that tweets can be a useful tool to assist, prepare for and avert — boosts in asthma-related emergencies.

The research study recommends that to forecast and probably avert rigorous asthma assaults in a community, physicians can seek hints in social media. Researchers gathered tweets posted amid October 2013 and June 2014 and confined them to the 3,810 that stated asthma attacks and that initiated in the Dallas-Fort Worth region in the US. All through the similar time phase, occurrences of asthma-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations around the area were documented.

When the amount of asthma-related tweets elevated in an offered week, the researchers discovered that the amount of asthma emergency department visits or hospitalizations elevated proportionally all through the pursuing week. Yolande Mfondoum Pengetnze, who is the lead author and medical director at Parkland Centre for Clinical Innovation (PCCI), a non-profit research and development corporation in the US, stated that “If the number of asthma-related tweets increased by 20 in a given week, for example, we would expect asthma-related emergency department visits or hospitalizations to increase by 12 in the following week,”

Pengetnze further added that “This is an important finding that can change the way health departments and other healthcare stakeholders monitor asthma activity in a community,” She continued by saying that asthma activity in a community is generally evaluated later than emergency department visits or hospitalizations previously have happened. She stated as, “By using real-time Twitter activity, health departments could actually anticipate asthma ED visits or hospitalizations in the following days and possibly intervene before some of them occur,”

Pengetnze continued as, “For example, a notification might be sent by the health department when there is an increase in asthma-related tweets in the community, giving people with asthma a heads-up to take necessary precautions — like avoiding exposure to asthma triggers or being more assiduous in taking their asthma medications,”

Consecutively, she stated, this could assist avert a few asthma flare-ups, perk up people’s health and reduce the amount of asthma-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations. Co-author Sudha Ram added “We live in the era of Big Data,” referring to gradually a huge set of details that lend itself properly to study discovering patterns of human behavior.

Ram added by saying that “Our research is innovative and unique because it harnesses the power of Big Data from social media and other sources to address the problem of anticipating emergency department visits for a chronic condition — in this case, asthma — in close to real-time conditions,”

About the Author

Sidra Muntaha

- Sidra Tul Muntaha is a journalist (MA-Mass Communication and M.Phil in Mass Communication) based in Lahore. She is working as an editor at fashion, style and entertainment in the section of the Kooza. She writes fashion and entertainment articles for The Kooza News.