Smartphone thermometers are a repository real-time data which can help in tracking and predicting influenza both at regional and national levels. This was revealed by a new method tested by a group of scientists at the University of Iowa that revealed that de-identified data from a “smart thermometer,” which is connected to an app on the smartphone, can keep a tab on the impact of flu both in individuals and the population. Their findings was published in a journal called Clinical Infectious Diseases on February 8.

Smart Thermometer Data Can Predict Influenza Activity Two to Three Weeks in Advance

As per the lead author of the report, data from smart thermometer are correlated strongly with information gathered from conventional systems meant for public health monitoring. It can be leveraged to better predictions of illnesses such as influenza. It can provide warnings, almost weeks in advance, of changes in disease activity.

Using uncomplicated models for forecasting, the research found that thermometer data could be used effectively to predict influenza levels almost two to three weeks into the future. With conventional surveillance systems offering data, this cannot be achieved.

Thermometers along with the related mobile app, recorded temperatures of users over the course of the study period between August 30, 2015 and December 23, 2017. Around 8 million temperature readings coming out from 450,000 unique devices from 50 states were accumulated to offer age-group and region specific estimates on flu activity.