The main goal of the project was to identify opportunities in the digital era to explore available data to better manage public health crises. As working goals the team had defined: 1) generating comprehensive datasets, including on legislation and on perceptions; 2) integrating and analyzing this data, and 3) providing useful recommendations to decision-makers, regarding crisis scenarios, specifically in the case of Influenza outbreaks.
Throughout the project, computational tools were developed to gather and analyze large sets of data. A novel method was developed to use social networks (namely Google searches and Twitter) to better understand and predict global human behaviors in respect of health. This tool was expanded to include the on-call telephone service Saúde24. Moreover, a novel system for the detection of the flu onset was developed being tested in real time at Instituto Ricardo Jorge and followed by Direcção Geral de Saúde. This is a fundamental output, as it will offer relevant information and advice to political deciders.
In addition, a computational method to automatically find relevant legislation and parliamentary debates was developed. Online surveys and focus groups were held to understand changes in perception in the case of the pandemic influenza outbreak of 2009.
Moreover, the project discussed the case of “new risks” emerging from the privacy and data protection issues raised by such Big Data analysis in the health domain considering the new EU data protection regulation, and the extent to which it responds to the big data challenge.
Period: 2013 - 2015
Funding Institution: FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Coordination: Maria Eduarda Gonçalves (DINÂMIA'CET-IUL)
DINÂMIA'CET-IUL Team: João Raimundo
External Team: Nuno Marques, Joana Sá