May 1, 2015
Congratulations 2014–15 CompEpi PhD graduates Geoff Fairchild (Los Alamos National Laboratories), Jason Fries (Stanford University), Valerie Galluzzi (Rose Hulman Institute of Technology), Mauricio Monsalve (The University of Iowa), Alessio Signorini (Evidation Health) and Lucio Tolentino (Mashable.com).

April 13, 2015
Our paper entitled Hand Hygiene Duration and Technique Recognition using Wrist-Worn Sensors was presented at the 14th International Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks.

October 20, 2014
Two papers about electronic measurement of hand washing have been published in the October’s issue of ICHE journal: one about the influence of coworkers on hand washing rates, and the other on detection of hand washing movement and its duration.

September 15, 2014
Our paper Mining the Demographics of Craigslist Casual Sex Ads to Inform Public Health Policy, Casual Sex-seeking Individuals has been presented at the 2014 IEEE International Conference on Healthcare Informatics.

November 3, 2013
Presented our work on coping with radio signal uncertainty has been presented at the 2013 Wireless Health conference.

December 13, 2012
Vaccine Refused, our new project to facilitate data collection from point of refusal, was released in the iTunes App Store for use by U.S. medical professionals.

November 9, 2012
Dr. Philip Polgreen and graduate student Jason Fries were featured on Iowa Public Radio discussing our research on hand hygiene in hospitals. Iowa Public Radio

February 1, 2012
Our article The Use of Twitter to Track Levels of Disease Activity and Public Concern in the U.S. During the Influenza A H1N1 Pandemic has won the Robert Wood Johnson’s Foundation Most Influential Research Articles of 2011.

March 4, 2011
Check out our new PLoS One article on Twitter and the H1N1 pandemic.

April 21, 2011
A new iScrub article on Infection Control Today (ICT)! iScrub Phone App Pilot Project Boost Hand Hygiene Compliance

April 4, 2011
iScrub in the news! New iPhone application improved hand hygiene compliance

April 1, 2011
CompEpi presented some new research at the 21st Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA 2011) in Dallas, Texas. Read more

December 1, 2010
Our group was well-represented at the International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS 2010) in Park City, Utah. Read more

May 4, 2010
Do health care professionals perform hand hygiene? We’ve got an app for that! Read the press release.

March 17, 2010
The Fifth Decennial International Conference on Healthcare Associated Infections advance press release features CompEpi research.

November 5, 2009
CompEpi graduate students Jason Fries, Donald Curtis, and Chris Hlady were winners in the Faculty/Staff/Graduate Assistant Business Plan Competition, hosted by the UI Business College’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, where they pitched the next generation iScrub system.

September 9, 2009
iScrub, our new iPhone/iPod Touch application for infection control professionals, is now available online at the Apple iTunes store.

June 18, 2009
Try our Maximal Coverage Calculator for near-optimal placement of sentinel surveillence sites.

More news…

Using Sensor Motes for Real Time Measurement of Social Networks

Our mote-based social-network-capture system uses two basic elements. Individual healthcare workers will wear rechargeable badge-like motes, while additional motes, placed in a number of static locations in the hospital unit, will serve as fixed-point beacons and data transfer stations. Beacons, which can be used to triangulate position, are functionally identical to motes, but are usually configured with larger batteries or are simply plugged into an AC power outlet. Both types of motes are programmed to periodically broadcast a timestamped identifying packet at low power. As these message packets are broadcast packets, they are not destination-specific, and can be received by any other badge or beacon. When a packet is received, its originating device identifier, received signal strength (RSSI), and timestamp are logged in on-board memory by the recipient. Here, RSSI is used as a proxy for distance; its precision is sufficient to discriminate between short distances (up to a few feet away) and longer distances (up to the transmission limit, typically no more than 200 feet, depending on broadcast power). Since the process is symmetric, both motes will record the contact. Thus the merged mote contact logs constitute an explicit contact trace; using these data collected over time, it is easy to infer a social network in the form of a contact graph, with nodes representing healthcare workers, and weighted edges representing the rate of contact between the connected nodes over some standard unit of time.

Motes are quite inexpensive (less than approximately $100 each, with prices expected to decline significantly as the technology improves), and hold a number of technical advantages over, e.g., RFID-based systems. First, motes record data locally in memory, which can then either be offloaded for analysis after the fact, or may even be opportunistically offloaded when passing near a fixed beacon. Second, with proper beacon placement, sensor motes promise much higher location resolution than that offered by RFID systems, and motes will continue to record interactions with each other even outside the range of any fixed beacon infrastructure. In contrast, RFID systems cannot directly record interactions, but merely the co-location of multiple devices, typically only to room-level resolution only in rooms where RFID sensors have been installed. Finally, because the mote infrastructure consists only of beacons, it is portable and easily reconfigured, meaning it can quickly be retargeted to fit new locations.

Our first-generation design consists of a commercially-available wireless sensor board paired with a rechargeable iPod battery in a repur posed pager case. This badge-like mote is worn by individual healthcare workers. The USB port is for data transfer, including maintenance and development uploads of custom mote control software. The round connector on the right side of the pager case accommodates a charging cradle.