The Top 5 Sites Crowdsourcing for Your Health
Created as a side project by two colleagues at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, HealthMap.org monitors outbreaks such as Swine Flu and SARS around the world. Using an hourly web crawler, it aggregates thousands of reports in seven languages, enabling the public and health professionals to track disease trends in real time on the website and a smartphone app. On a typical day the site receives around 1,000 visits, but when there are major outbreaks, that number climbs up to 200,000.
Similar to how a Doppler radar scans the skies for signs of bad weather, Sickweather.com searches your social networks — like Facebook and Twitter — for indicators of illness. It allows users to track conditions, compare symptoms and measure the proliferation of a virus in a specific region. From allergies to asthma, strep throat to stress, the website tracks the prevalence of over 25 different conditions.
- Google Flu Trends
Every day, millions of people go online to research health-related topics. Google aggregates this information and uses it to estimate the current level of weekly influenza activity throughout the United States. Because the general frequency of certain Google search queries is highly correlated with the percentage of physician visits in which a patient presents influenza-like symptoms, Google believes this kind of information can be used to help improve early detection.
- Global Public Health Intelligence Network
Managed by Health Canada’s Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response (CEPR), the Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN) is a subscription-based service that monitors Internet media, such as news wires and websites, in nine languages in order to help detect and report potential disease outbreaks or other health threats around the world.
“Get a second opinion.” That is standard advice when it comes to the diagnosis of a medical condition. But how about a third — or even a fourth opinion? CrowdMed.com believes that diagnosis should be a team effort and invites everyone —practitioners, patients and the public at large — to be an “MD” (medical detective). By harnessing “the wisdom of crowds” to help solve complicated medical cases, the website is quickly becoming a popular “go-to” destination for patients with medical questions, as well as a trusted source of medical answers.