Public Health Surveillance Using Global Health Explorer

Abstract. We demonstrate an early version of a semantic web tool, Global Health Explorer (GHX), that can be used to conduct public health surveillance using Twitter. Our infrastructure can use any controlled vocabulary to extract term uses in Twitter and supports hypothesis formation and exploration of data sets using visual analysis. The resulting data, gathered in RDF, makes it possible to analyze term usage through both temporal and spatial dimensions. GHX uses the qb.js framework to visualize and explore these data across dimensions, intiially time and location. This allows users of GHX to monitor terms from pre-existing ontologies to conduct public health surveillance. We have prototyped the use of GHX to monitor terms from the NCI Thesaurus related to influenza-like illnesses.

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The Tetherless World Constellation's Health on the Web's primary goal is to explore the next generation web technology needed to improve health. Some current efforts focus on intelligent integration and access of health data, identifcation of data sets, linked data tools for health topics, responses to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology report to the president on "Realizing the Full Potential of Health Information Technology to Improve Healthcare for Americans: The Path Forward", and consumer access and control of health data.

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