EpiCore: Crowdsourcing Health Professionals to Verify Disease Outbreaks

Jennifer Olsen

Abstract


IntroductionEpiCore draws on the knowledge of a global community of human,animal, and environmental health professionals to verify informationon disease outbreaks in their geographic regions. By using innovativesurveillance techniques and crowdsourcing these experts, EpiCoreenables faster global outbreak detection, verification, and reporting.MethodsThrough a secure online platform, members are able to easily andquickly provide local information to expedite outbreak verification.EpiCore volunteer applications are vetted to ensure that they possessthe public health and epidemiologic expertise necessary to contributeto the platform.ResultsEpiCore currently has over 1600 members that span 135 countries.During the first 8 months of EpiCore’s launch, 172 requests forinformation to volunteers have been posted with an average responserate of over 80%.ConclusionsWith its geographical distribution of members and high responserate, EpiCore is poised to enable the world to verify potential outbreaksignals faster. By improving situational awareness, de-escalatingrumors or false information, and corroborating using other existingsources, EpiCore is able to reduce the signal to noise ratio in diseasesurveillance. Hence, by detecting and verifying outbreaks faster,health officials can generate early responses that can curb epidemicsand save lives.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/ojphi.v9i1.7774



Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 * http://ojphi.org