Cloud-computing service enables earlier detection of public health crisis

Draper Laboratory recently announced it is developing a cloud computing service that could provide information to help public health preparedness and response officials react more quickly to public health crises.

Draper's Collaborative Overarching Multi-feed Biosurveillance System gathers public data using social media, blogs, search trends, open source information and traditional health information to create a dynamic data stream that contains diverse information. The cloud-based system also provides tools for data visualization and interpretation. This allows analysts unprecedented access to data that would provide real-time information to public health officials and enable faster decision-making.

The White House asked for improved biosurveillance in 2012 in order to increase response to threats both natural and deliberate, such as SARS, H1N1 and anthrax. Current biosurveillance systems are oriented toward providing analysis after an event.

The White House issued the National Biosurveillance Science and Technology Roadmap in order to "enhance information integration, analysis and sharing platforms for improved situational awareness of biosurveillance information at all levels, including with international partners, as appropriate."

COMBS enables the collection, use and analysis of real-time data to monitor conditions affecting human, animal and environmental health. Because of the way humans are attracting new diseases from animals, this approach is particularly essential in developing countries.