FluSense: A Contactless Syndromic Surveillance Platform for Influenza-Like Illness in Hospital Waiting Areas

Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies, 4(1), 1-28

Abstract: We developed a contactless syndromic surveillance platform FluSense that aims to expand the current paradigm of influenza-like illness (ILI) surveillance by capturing crowd-level bio-clinical signals directly related to physical symptoms of ILI from hospital waiting areas in an unobtrusive and privacy-sensitive manner. FluSense consists of a novel edge-computing sensor system, models and data processing pipelines to track crowd behaviors and influenza-related indicators, such as coughs, and to predict daily ILI and laboratory-confirmed influenza caseloads. FluSense uses a microphone array and a thermal camera along with a neural computing engine to passively and continuously characterize speech and cough sounds along with changes in crowd density on the edge in a real-time manner. We conducted an IRB-approved 7 month-long study from December 10, 2018 to July 12, 2019 where we deployed FluSense in four public waiting areas within the hospital of a large university. During this period, the FluSense platform collected and analyzed more than 350,000 waiting room thermal images and 21 million non-speech audio samples from the hospital waiting areas. FluSense can accurately predict daily patient counts with a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.95. We also compared signals from FluSense with the gold standard laboratory-confirmed influenza case data obtained in the same facility and found that our sensor-based features are strongly correlated with laboratory-confirmed influenza trends.

Andrew Lover
Andrew Lover
Assistant Professor of Epidemiology

My research interests in the field of infectious disease epidemiology focuses on disease surveillance; interventional trials; infection dynamics and disease elimination; and vector-borne disease.