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Measuring mobility, disease connectivity and individual risk: a review of using mobile phone data and mHealth for travel medicine

Measuring mobility, disease connectivity and individual risk: a review of using mobile phone data and mHealth for travel medicine
Measuring mobility, disease connectivity and individual risk: a review of using mobile phone data and mHealth for travel medicine
Rationale for review: the increasing mobility of populations allows pathogens to move rapidly and far, making endemic or epidemic regions more connected to the rest of the world than at any time in history. However, the ability to measure and monitor human mobility, health risk, and their changing patterns across spatial and temporal scales using traditional data sources has been limited. To facilitate a better understanding of the use of emerging mobile phone technology and data in travel medicine, we reviewed relevant work aiming at measuring human mobility, disease connectivity, and health risk in travellers using mobile geopositioning data.

Key findings: despite some inherent biases of mobile phone data, analysing anonymized positions from mobile users could precisely quantify the dynamical processes associated with contemporary human movements and connectivity of infectious diseases at multiple temporal and spatial scales. Moreover, recent progress in mobile health (mHealth) technology and applications, integrating with mobile positioning data, shows great potential for innovation in travel medicine to monitor and assess real-time health risk for individuals during travel.

Conclusions: mobile phones and mHealth have become a novel and tremendously powerful source of information on measuring human movements and origin–destination specific risks of infectious and non-infectious health issues. The high penetration rate of mobile phones across the globe provides an unprecedented opportunity to quantify human mobility and accurately estimate the health risks in travellers. Continued efforts are needed to establish the most promising uses of these data and technologies for travel health.
Mobile phone, mHealth, population movement, connectivity, epidemiology, risk assessment, travel medicine
1195-1982
Lai, Shengjie
b57a5fe8-cfb6-4fa7-b414-a98bb891b001
Farnham, Andrea
59e816da-c7fa-44d6-87eb-e586f712d516
Ruktanonchai, Nick
fe68cb8d-3760-4955-99fa-47d43f86580a
Tatem, Andrew
6c6de104-a5f9-46e0-bb93-a1a7c980513e
Lai, Shengjie
b57a5fe8-cfb6-4fa7-b414-a98bb891b001
Farnham, Andrea
59e816da-c7fa-44d6-87eb-e586f712d516
Ruktanonchai, Nick
fe68cb8d-3760-4955-99fa-47d43f86580a
Tatem, Andrew
6c6de104-a5f9-46e0-bb93-a1a7c980513e

Lai, Shengjie, Farnham, Andrea, Ruktanonchai, Nick and Tatem, Andrew (2019) Measuring mobility, disease connectivity and individual risk: a review of using mobile phone data and mHealth for travel medicine. Journal of Travel Medicine. (doi:10.1093/jtm/taz019).

Record type: Review

Abstract

Rationale for review: the increasing mobility of populations allows pathogens to move rapidly and far, making endemic or epidemic regions more connected to the rest of the world than at any time in history. However, the ability to measure and monitor human mobility, health risk, and their changing patterns across spatial and temporal scales using traditional data sources has been limited. To facilitate a better understanding of the use of emerging mobile phone technology and data in travel medicine, we reviewed relevant work aiming at measuring human mobility, disease connectivity, and health risk in travellers using mobile geopositioning data.

Key findings: despite some inherent biases of mobile phone data, analysing anonymized positions from mobile users could precisely quantify the dynamical processes associated with contemporary human movements and connectivity of infectious diseases at multiple temporal and spatial scales. Moreover, recent progress in mobile health (mHealth) technology and applications, integrating with mobile positioning data, shows great potential for innovation in travel medicine to monitor and assess real-time health risk for individuals during travel.

Conclusions: mobile phones and mHealth have become a novel and tremendously powerful source of information on measuring human movements and origin–destination specific risks of infectious and non-infectious health issues. The high penetration rate of mobile phones across the globe provides an unprecedented opportunity to quantify human mobility and accurately estimate the health risks in travellers. Continued efforts are needed to establish the most promising uses of these data and technologies for travel health.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 8 March 2019
Published date: 14 March 2019
Keywords: Mobile phone, mHealth, population movement, connectivity, epidemiology, risk assessment, travel medicine

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 429030
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/429030
ISSN: 1195-1982
PURE UUID: fcc22dd3-c4d2-4dc3-8fdf-e6915995598f
ORCID for Shengjie Lai: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9781-8148
ORCID for Andrew Tatem: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7270-941X

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 19 Mar 2019 17:30
Last modified: 16 Apr 2019 00:31

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