We Like: Harvest, nEmesis, and 7Breaths Reply



Biomedical researchers have traditionally worked with data that could be easily managed in spreadsheets and even in paper lab notebooks. The switch to electronic health records and the increasing use of genomic technologies are rendering these tools inadequate. Through their experience developing many data-intensive biomedical applications, the team at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) began researching ways to lower the barriers for researchers and clinicians to explore their data. The result of their efforts is an open source framework called Harvest. Harvest is designed to alleviate complex (and often opaque) data models and enable interactive visual exploration of large data sets. (Source: OSCON)



Oversharing on Twitter may actually help to improve public health. Researchers from the University of Rochester have developed a system called nEmesis that can accurately pinpoint when and where someone got food poisoning. Recently,  the researchers used the system to “listen” to 3.8 million tweets from more than 94,000 unique users living in New York City. They targeted tweets with keywords indicating that a user was dining at restaurant and isolated GPS data to confirm it. Then, they tracked each user for 72 hours to see if any keywords appeared that indicated illness. In all, they traced 23,000 restaurant visitors and found 480 cases of food poisoning. And, when compared with the NY Health Department’s restaurant grading, they found a direct correlation between the restaurant’s food safety standards and the diners’ bad experiences. (Source: GigaOM)


An idea first dreamt of by a UK doctor (@wai2k) to measure respiratory rate using a mobile app has now been turned into a large scale observational trial using nothing more than a smartphone. Dr Wai Keong first proposed the simple application based on the fact that basic physiological observations of heart and respiratory rate are central to identifying sick patients. The idea was picked up by NHS Hackday, where a team of clinicians and developers successfully created an Android and iPhone version of 7Breaths, an app that counts respiratory rate using a mobile app. The app is so named, because it is designed to calculate an accurate respiratory rate after counting just seven breaths. (Source: iMedicalApps)

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