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UA Study Suggests Twitter Posts Could Help Predict ER Traffic

(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.

Carrie Jung Senior Field Correspondent, Education Desk Carrie Jung began her public radio career in Albuquerque, N.M., where she fell in love with the diverse cultural scene and unique political environment of the Southwest. Jung has been heard on KJZZ since 2013 when she served as a regular contributor to the Fronteras Desk from KUNM Albuquerque. She covered several major stories there including New Mexico's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and Albuquerque's failed voter initiative to ban late-term abortions. Jung has also contributed stories about environmental and Native American issues to NPR's Morning Edition, PRI's The World, Al Jazeera America, WNYC's The Takeaway, and National Native News. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in marketing, both from Clemson University. When Jung isn't producing content for KJZZ she can usually be found buried beneath mounds of fabric and quilting supplies. She recently co-authored a book, "Sweet And Simple Sewing," with her mother and sister, who are fabric designers.