BME PhD Prospectus Defense - Clark Freifeld

11:00 am on Friday, May 3, 2013
1:00 pm on Friday, May 3, 2013
44 Cummington St, Room 203
John Brownstein, PhD, Harvard Medical School (advisor)
Simon Kasif, PhD, BU BME (co-advisor, chair)
Charles DeLisi, PhD, BU BME
Douglas Densmore, PhD BU ECE/BME

Title: "MedWatcher: novel informatics tools for detecting adverse events in postmarketing"

Half of Americans currently take a prescription drug while many others make use of regulated medical devices both at home and in the clinical setting, and vaccination coverage for many key vaccines is over 90%. Together, drugs, devices and vaccines have extended our lives and transformed our health. At the same time, nearly all medical products carry a risk of side effects, sometimes severe. The process of clinical trials is critical for evaluating both safety and efficacy of new medical products. However, trials often exclude participants with multiple health conditions, who are taking other medications, or who don’t fit specific clinical criteria. The result is that clinical trials are often insufficient to determine the true risks of a product as it is used in the population. In fact, over half of approved drugs have serious side effects not detected before approval. Existing postmarket reporting systems are critical but suffer from significant underreporting by both clinicians and patients. At the same time, recent years have seen an explosion in adoption of Internet tools and smartphones across the U.S. population. We present MedWatcher, a new system that harnesses emerging information technologies for early detection and tracking of adverse events in the general population. MedWatcher consists of two main components, a data mining module, MedWatcher Social, and a crowdsourcing module, MedWatcher Personal. With the data mining component, we acquire public data from the Internet and apply information extraction algorithms to filter and classify the information, and extract signals of adverse events. With the crowdsourcing application, we provide a mobile and Web application that allows users to track safety information on chosen products, and submit adverse event reports directly.