Journal of Medical Internet Research
The Significance of Witness Sensors for Mass Casualty Incidents and Epidemic Outbreaks
Chih-Long Pan, Chih-Hao Lin, Yan-Ren Lin, Hsin-Yu Wen, Jet-Chau Wen
J Med Internet Res 2018 (Feb 02); 20(2):e39
Due to the increasing number of natural and man-made disasters, mass casualty incidents occur more often than ever before. As a result, health care providers need to adapt in order to cope with the overwhelming patient surge. To ensure quality and safety in health care, accurate information in pandemic disease control, death reduction, and health quality promotion should be highlighted. However, obtaining precise information in real time is an enormous challenge to all researchers of the field. In this paper, innovative strategies are presented to develop a sound information network using the concept of “witness sensors.” To overcome the reliability and quality limitations of information obtained through social media, researchers must focus on developing solutions that secure the authenticity of social media messages, especially for matters related to health. To address this challenge, we introduce a novel concept based on the two elements of “witness” and “sensor.” Witness sensors can be key players designated to minimize limitations to quality of information and to distinguish fact from fiction during critical events. In order to enhance health communication practices and deliver valid information to end users, the education and management of witness sensors should be further investigated, especially for implementation during mass casualty incidents and epidemic outbreaks.