Several years ago I went to graduate school where I studied global health. During graduate school I learned about the major diseases in global health as well as the major players, including the World Health Organization and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. My studies led me to pursue a carer in healthcare, and I ultimately ended up working for an organization who was developing software to collect health data from a variety of sources throughout the world and presents that information in an easily accessible way. Through this data collection, we generate health maps and virus detection maps with aid healthcare workers from around the world. My job was very exciting, I was at the cutting edge of technology and healthcare; harnessing the power of internet technology and data to revolutionize global health.
The technology available through this website is widely utilized by organizations, individuals, governments, ministry of health organizations, and others. Their are several things with the website, which we call HealthMap, is really well known for. These things include (but are not limited to) global flu surveillance, contagious disease surveillance, and monitoring disease outbreaks.
Flu surveillance: One of the key features of the application is the ability for it to carry out flu surveillance. The flu can be a very serious illness, something that many people do not often realize. People generally are aware that the flu disproportionately affects the elderly and those who are very young, but that is not often the case. Each year, a different flu strain emerges. This flu strain can range from a mild flu, to a deadly virus, like what we saw several years ago with the H1N1 flu virus. This virus, unlike many of the more common flu strains, affected more teenage- middle aged people than other strains of flu- in fact, people in their mid twenties to thirties were very at risk. HealthMap tracks flu cases and people can go to the website to learn more about outbreaks in their regions.
Contagious Disease surveillance: The application can also track the outbreak of other contagious diseases. It does this in the same way that it detects flu outbreaks. Health information is constantly flowing in from places around the world, giving healthcare workers insight into disease outbreaks or flu outbreaks.
Outbreak detection: A disease outbreak is defined as more than average cases of a certain disease occurring in a given geographic region. Disease outbreaks can become very serious very fast, so it is important to detect outbreaks either before they really take off or quickly after. Using HealthMap, healthcare workers can visualize the overall health landscape of a region and can begin to identify when a disease outbreak might occur based on the conditions conducive for certain diseases to emerge. By knowing this, outbreaks can be prevented or quickly controlled.
New technology is quickly changing the field of global health. With this kind of access to health data, people will be up to date on important health news, trends, and outbreaks.