Sickweather is the world’s first real-time map of sickness and the largest crowdsourcing community of its kind – processing millions of illness reports each month. The company has received numerous awards and been recognized for accurately forecasting outbreaks up to 15 weeks in advance. Below is our interview with Graham Dodge, Co-Founder & CEO of Sickweather:
Q: Graham, could you tell us something more about Sickweather?
A: Sickweather is committed to providing consumers and businesses the most accurate, predictive and meaningful sickness forecasts in the world – for reducing healthcare costs and saving lives.
Sickweather’s data is regularly correlated and validated against available data from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), point-of-sale data for related medications, and demographic and census data. These data sets help us to know how accurate our other methods are for tracking and forecasting illnesses.
Q: Tell us a little more about the technology behind Sickweather?
A: Just as Doppler radar scans the skies for indicators of bad weather, Sickweather’s algorithm scans social networks and 3rd party data sources for indicators of illness, allowing you to check for the chance of sickness as easily as you can check for the chance of rain. Sickweather allows its members and 3rd party partners to report directly to our map and forecast anonymously via our mobile apps.
Advanced machine learning models are also used to measure the rate of real-time input compared to our extensive archived data (carefully curated since 2011) to predict the rate of illnesses up to 15 weeks in advance with 91% accuracy. We make these predictions and data outputs available via our consumer-facing applications for the general public, as well as our Application Programming Interface (API) and Sickweather Pro SaaS dashboard used by developers, data scientists and epidemiologists across several industries.
Q: What’s the most important thing to do in order to prevent flu?
A: The CDC recommends the flu shot as a first line of defense for everyone aged 6 months and older, but for the second year in a row, the CDC does not recommend nasal spray flu vaccines. According to the CDC, regularly disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces, like doorknobs, light switches, faucets or toys, is another effective way to prevent the spread of colds and flu. Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes are an EPA-registered disinfectant that kill 99.9% of germs including viruses that cause colds and flu (Rhinovirus and Influenza A2) and Staph, E. Coli, Salmonella and Strep.
Q: Tell us something about your partnership with Clorox?
A: At a time of year when calendars overflow with events, it’s important to take steps to prevent the spread of cold, flu viruses and FluFOMO, the fear of missing out because of the flu. Sickweather and Clorox have partnered again this year to help people fight the flu and FluFOMO.
People can use Sickweather to find out where flu and FluFOMO are reported so they can take the appropriate prevention measures at home and on-the-go at the office, their kids’ schools, the gym and beyond. To track and report illnesses like FluFOMO, people can join Sickweather Groups. If someone reports illness within your Groups, click the Sympathy Button to share get-well wishes from Clorox. Sickweather has also recently integrated international surveillance into its app so you can track illness if your travels take you to any English, Spanish, French, Hindi, Portuguese and German-speaking countries this fall.
Q: Why is now the time for a technology solution like Sickweather?
A: As big data continues to become a major player in public health, Sickweather is utilizing data from a variety of sources to empower consumers to take control of their health. For example, in the past, people would enter into flu and allergy season with little knowledge of the severity of these illnesses in their community. Now, by using the Sickweather app, they can take extra precautions when indicators of illness are high to avoid getting sick.