Enhancing informatics

By | January 31, 2017
Female and male doctors seated next to each other looking at a sensor.

Patricia Abbott and Courtland Keteyian explored the use of sensors to monitor health. (School of Nursing)

The loss of her father in 2009 drew a sharp focus on the need for accurate and timely medical records for Patricia Abbott, associate professor of nursing. The experience gave her renewed purpose to continue her research, which explores how massive amounts of data can improve care for patients. Abbott is exploring a variety of innovative Big Data opportunities including how social media can be used to monitor disease outbreaks. “Most people think of social media data as worthless, but there is incredible value hidden in there,” she said. “For example, if you look at Twitter streams and see an increase in tweets about fever and muscle aches that are geo-tagged to a certain area, then tie that info with school attendance data, it can show a relationship between the tweeted symptoms and absenteeism. This can be a valuable tool for community-based nurses to slow disease spread.”