UA Study Suggests Twitter Posts Could Help Predict ER Traffic

By Carrie Jung
Published: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - 6:02pm
Updated: Thursday, April 16, 2015 - 12:17pm
(Photo courtesy of Twitter)

Researchers at the University of Arizona said Twitter posts could be used to accurately predict emergency room visits. The study focused on chronic conditions like asthma.

Dr. Sudha Ram is the lead scientist on the project. She said her team analyzed data from Twitter, air quality sensors and electronic medical records to create an algorithm.

"We found conversations from people about how they couldn’t sleep last night, they couldn’t run their regular route of five miles even the inhaler wasn’t helping them," she said. "So we kind of sifted through all of these tweets."

Ram said the goal is to help hospitals more effectively plan their staffing. The study results suggest the algorithm accurately predicted a Dallas area emergency room’s asthma related traffic about 75 percent of the time.