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Should Apps Map Illness Like We Map the Weather?

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In this column, I will look at Healthyday and the evolution of new M-health apps that use publicly crowdsourced data to “map” illnesses and diseases. While these apps would show promise if they helped us track a single disease or pandemic (e.g., flu, or Lyme disease), or a true public health crisis (e.g., Ebola), their use for mapping everyday aches and pains may, for now, be of limited use and pose significant privacy concerns.