The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and over the counter drug manufacturing giant GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) recently launched an app to aid their researchers to monitor flu conditions and symptoms digitally. The new app, Flumoji, runs on an Android platform and is meant to track data from different individuals using crowdsourcing applications.
Consumers can then monitor their flu conditions relatively faster and share data with other app users including MIT and Glaxo researchers. The main aim of using the app is to try and identify flu outbreaks in a faster way than having to wait for reports from health practitioners who report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after testing numerous patients for flu-like symptoms. Patients can share updates with family and friends on Facebook.
Flumoji asks its users questions in the line of symptoms, mood, activity and how they feel. It then allows them to share data with each other and designated friends on Facebook. The data is later used to calculate for fluctuations and analyze if the symptoms may lead to the flu-like an outbreak in a particular region.
According to Glaxo’s spokeswoman, using real-time data from users is an efficient way of identifying flu outbreaks, and it is enough to carry out clinical trials and potential flu treatments.
Flumoji has close to 5000 downloads on the app store, and its reviews are calling for fixing of a few hitches such as battery and data consumption. The MIT connect science branch, however, reports to continually improving the quality of the app with every version it launches.
Glaxo also has a similar app for tracking cold and flu (available for download on weather.com and Theraflu.com) for iPhone, iPad and Android users. Unlike Flumoji, this app uses social media updates to notify the users of any impending flu and cold outbreaks. Users can use the app to read local and previously analyzed CDC flu data. Glaxo’s spokeswoman noted that the drug maker is looking to expand into digital healthcare.