Nathan Eagleis an expert in how to use cell phone data to predict and influence human behavior. And he thinks that cell phones could be the next big thing in public health.
That’s because cell phone data could shed light on behavior connected to health issues. Researchers could potentially predict disease outbreaks by studying cell service providers’ data banks, which log records of all calls and text messages, including the cell phone tower that routed them. This information can enable researchers to measure mobility, helping them make inferences as to where people might be likely to travel—and thus how disease might be spread from location to location. Health care advice could be shared via cell phone. And public health researchers could collect crucial health data through cell phone surveys.
Eagle spoke to an HSPH audience on January 30, 2012 as part of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Seminar Series.