Study: Twitter Could Help Predict Asthma-Related ED Patient Volume

April 17, 2015 in News

Hospitals might be able to use Twitter to predict the volume of asthma-related emergency department visits they will see on a specific day, according to a new study, FierceHealthcare reports.

Study Details

For the study, researchers processed air quality data from sensors near a large Dallas hospital. They collected several million tweets and used text-mining to find tweets from the ZIP codes that are home to the hospital’s patient population. The tweets contained terms such as:

  • Asthma;
  • Inhaler; and
  • Wheezing.

The researchers also analyzed Google searches related to asthma in the area.

Study Findings

The researchers found that they could estimate the hospital’s daily volume of asthma-related ED visits with 75% accuracy.

The data suggested that asthma-related ED visits increased when:

  • Air quality worsened; and
  • The number of asthma-related tweets increased.

The researchers found no meaningful relationship between the asthma-related Google searches and ED visits (Budryk, FierceHealthcare, 4/16).

The authors noted that they are working to expand their research to see if their preliminary findings hold when used with larger datasets, different seasons and multiple hospitals (Ram et al., IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics, 4/14).

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