DHS awards $3 million contract to Accenture for biosurveillance

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the award of a one year, $3 million contract this week to the Arlington, Virginia-based Accenture Federal Services for a social media-related biosurveillance project.

Accenture will help the Office of Health Services enhance its capabilities for biosurveillance by developing a pilot program to manage, link and analyze real time social media network data. The program is meant to allow the office to better inform and protect the public in the event of a national health emergency like a biological attack or an infectious disease outbreak, Virginia Business reports.

Biosurveillance is the monitoring of unusual occurrences and public health trends that relies on real-time, pre-existing health data that is available publicly. An understanding of the large amount of information and data available and shared through social media such as Twitter and Facebook can be extremely helpful in detecting threats.

"Social media platforms are now an everyday part of peoples' lives, finding their way into all forms of communication," John Matchette, the head of Accenture's Public Safety agency work, said, according to Virginia Business. "Rapidly collecting and understanding what information is being shared will help OHA meet its mission to detect and respond to potential threats to national health security."

Accenture Federal Service is a wholly owned subsidiary of Accenture, LLP.