I remember being particularly amazed at Jonathan Harris and Seepandar Kamwars “We feel fine” visualization based on extracted statements from blog posts around the world. Reading about the re-emergence of dengue fever , chicken-gunya , west-nile and other viruses across South Asia, I started wondering if there are ways of keeping track of emerging pathogens using the many social networks that span the Globe.
In many countries there is no paranoia associated with sharing health information like there exists in the developed world. Even if the paranoia exists like it does in the US. We are curiously caught in a world where people reading my blog are more likely to know I have contracted the flu than any two of my healthcare providers who need that information to treat me better.
While the debate on the best way to handle health information online continues, I was wondering how open I would be to sharing information about what afflicts me, if there was a societal benefit to be derived from it. It could something as simple as monitoring allergy symptoms around where I live or something fancy like tracking an emerging pathogen.
Imagine all of us updating a common channel with “de-personalized” information on what afflicts us globally. I can imagine the system to be something like this ..I could “submit” to this service information about what ails me ..and the machine could obfuscate my details , preserving only things like my approximate geographical area and my age and sex and add it to this health information social network.
If implemented well could possibly then have daily visualizations along the lines of “We feel fine” to possibly something like “We feel chicken Gunya”