Oklahoma Doctors Are Skeptical Of 'Sickweather' App

Tuesday, February 3rd 2015, 6:48 pm
By: News 9

A new phone app possibly predicted the spread of viruses and disease across the country.

It's called 'Sickweather,' but some doctors said they are skeptical about the data the app is giving out.

You could think of this app in weather terms as the 'Doppler Radar for sickness.' The app monitors Facebook and Twitter for the illnesses people are talking about then compiles that information into a map.

“It's interesting that people are willing to put that information out there. Unfortunately with a self-report like that there is no standard for how they were diagnosed,” said Kendra Dougherty, Oklahoma State Health Department Epidemiologist.

Surprisingly though, the app's creator Graham Dodge said their data is almost spot on with data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Dodge said through a series of filters, the program is able to toss out words and phrases that might skew results.

Dr. Brett Cauthen said he is still skeptical.

“Do I think it's a valid predictor of disease and should my patents make personal decisions based on what the app tells them? No,” said Dr. Caugten, Today Clinic.

Dodge said despite the skepticism, one study said the information collected from Twitter reporting the flu was about two weeks ahead of the CDC reports.