Experts Say Social Media Forecasts the Flu

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Follow the CDPHP Wellness Watcher for the latest on what illnesses are trending in local communities.

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“With more than a billion Facebook users and another 200 million Twitter accounts, it’s no surprise the health care industry is beginning to mine this valuable data,” said

You’ve probably seen the status updates on Facebook. The sore-throat tweets on Twitter. People telling the world they’re home sick with the flu. Now experts say social media is beginning to more accurately forecast the flu, as well as other types of illnesses.

From Google Flu to Flu Near You, websites that track the flu are becoming more and more popular. Last month alone, there were more than 400,000 mentions of the flu on social media sites in the U.S.

“Social media is an exciting new source of information for health care professionals. With more than a billion Facebook users and another 200 million Twitter accounts, it’s no surprise the health care industry is beginning to mine this valuable data,” said David Jeans, VP of corporate analytics, CDPHP.

Jeans says it’s also important that we approach this information with caution.

“Social media is often filled with misinformation. People should always turn to their health care professional for the most reliable, accurate information about their health.”

Several weeks ago, the CDPHP Wellness Watcher was early to report a stomach bug that was making the rounds in the Capital Region. The Wellness Watcher uses information from local physicians’ offices to determine what illnesses are trending in the community. You can find weekly Wellness Watcher updates every Monday on the CDPHP Facebook and CDPHP Twitter page.

For more information or to speak with David Jeans, please contact Ali Skinner at (518) 605-4497.

About CDPHP®
Established in 1984, CDPHP is a physician-founded, member-focused and community-based not-for-profit health plan that offers high-quality affordable health insurance plans to members in 24 counties throughout New York. CDPHP is also on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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