The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded Accenture Federal Services a $3 million, one-year contract to help the Office of Health Affairs (OHA) enhance its biosurveillance capabilities using social media analytics.
Accenture will work with OHA to develop a social media analytics pilot that will manage, link and analyze data from open social media networks in real time to better inform and protect the public in the event of a national health emergency such as an infectious disease outbreak or a biological attack.
Because of the vast amount of data and information available and readily shared through social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs) and the rapid pace information is shared, collecting and understanding information from these channels is critical.
The pilot program that will take data from social networking and social media sites to help OHA better predict, mitigate, protect citizens or respond to potential crises in real time. The project also will help improve data sharing and collaboration between OHA and its federal and local partners.
In mid-2012 the Obama Administration issued an updated National Strategy on Biosurveillance (.pdf) that directed the nation to take “full advantage of the advanced technologies, new vaccines, the latest science, and social media that can help keep our citizens safe.”
The strategy describes integrating knowledge of human, animal, or plant health by leveraging social media and widely available tools to facilitate rapid information sharing domestically and globally.