Feeling Sick? Google “Flu Trends” Tool Smarter Than The CDC

A new study in Clinical Infectious Diseases shows that Google Flu Trends can predict surges in hospital flu visits more than a week before the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

For the study, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine researchers compared Baltimore-specific data from the Google Flu Trends website, which estimates influenza outbreaks based on online searches for flu information, to ED crowding and laboratory statistics from Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Using Google Flu Trends, researchers found that the number of online searches for flu information increased at the same time that the hospital’s pediatric ED experienced a rise in cases of children with flu-like symptoms. The Google Flu Trends data had a moderate correlation with patient volume in the adult ED. Moreover, Google Flu Trends signaled an uptick in flu cases seven to 10 days earlier than CDC‘s U.S. Influenza Sentinel Provider Surveillance Network. (via Advisory.com Daily Briefing)


2 thoughts on “Feeling Sick? Google “Flu Trends” Tool Smarter Than The CDC”

    1. Chris – I think very highly of prediction markets but they have one problem. They are still out of the mainstream. I’m waiting for someone to come up with a reward system, similar to the stock market, that encourages millions of people to enter.

      Then I can see the world changing dramatically.

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