Homeland Security Department

Accenture award applies social media to biosurveillance

Accenture Federal Services has won a year-long, $3 million contract with the Homeland Security Department to use social media to improve the Office of Health Affairs’ biosurveillance capabilities.

The Office of Health Affairs provides health and medical expertise in situations where a national health hazard is a threat. It helpsprepare for, respond to and recover from such hazards.

Through biosurveillance, it is possible to monitor public health trends, as well as any anomalies, by relying on pre-existing, real-time health data.

The program that Accenture will develop is similar in concept to the “blast” texts sent to a region’s cell phone users, in case of a weather-related or other advisory.

Along with improving data sharing between the office and its partners, it will be able to manage, link and analyze data from social media networks in real time, and will inform and protect the public in the event of a national health emergency, Accenture said.

“Social media platforms are now an everyday part of peoples’ lives, finding their way into all forms of communication,” said John Matchette, lead of Accenture’s public safety agency work. “Rapidly collecting and understanding what information is being shared will help [the office] meet its mission to detect and respond to potential threats to national health security,” he added.

 

About the Author

Mark Hoover is a staff writer with Washington Technology. You can contact him at mhoover@washingtontechnology.com, or connect with him on Twitter at @mhooverWT.

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