I was keen to report technological advancement with my readers and started browsing through the technology news. I found an article on an application that has been developed for smart phones which has utility in almost all the areas including health sector. The application is called EpiCollect developed by group of scientists working in United Kingdom has been reported in open access journal Plos One. I would like to discuss the main functions of this software and then we can look into the health applications of this software.
What is EpiCollect?
The EpiCollect is software that collects data from certain mobiles or smart phones on topics that are related to disease or a species and so on. Basically, Epicollect creates a centralized database of those smart phone users. Not only data is collected, data is also statistically analyzed and plotted on maps.
What are main advantages of EpiCollect over other softwares?
- Researchers can report real time data from anywhere (backyard, field), which goes into a central database
- Phones GPS system automatically logs users locations and data can be plotted by location using Google Maps
Lead researcher on the project David Aanensen of Imperial College London said that “Many of the other tools that allow one to send data by mobile phone don’t have an easy way for any of the...
researchers to look at any of the data in almost real-time.”
What smart phones can use EpiCollect?
EpiCollect is developed for smartphones that run on Google’s Android open source operating system.
How can EpiCollect be used for Health Applications?
As far as I see, EpiCollect is an excellent tool as it creates a central database. Currently, it is being used to track the occurrence of chytridiomycosis, a fungal infection that is decimating the numbers of amphibians around the globe. Just think about the swine flu, which has spread globally. If people start reporting the cases of swine flu that goes into EpiCollect’s central database, then the information is accessible instantly to users and even the government agencies. There are websites that can give you this information, but if you are travelling to a place and you could look up the number cases of swine flu, by just a click it would be much easier.
I think application of such a tool is endless. I would like to give you one more example. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the United States. There are multiple factors that contribute to the disease. Do you know much of it is prevalent in your community or township, where you live? Just imagine, if people reported incidences of heart diseases, then you could easily map it out as per the severity and geographical area, depending upon specificity of the information. I agree with the statement of Mr. Aanensen “We want to just sit back and see the kind of exciting projects that people will be using this for.”