Epidemico at FDA Scientific Computing Day

September 25, 2015

Epidemico attended the 3rd annual FDA Scientific Computing Days on September 8 and 9, engaging with colleagues from across the Agency’s Centers and sharing insights from the SupplyChainMap and MedWatcher Social systems. The event provided a forum for FDA staff and contractors to discuss emergent methods for the monitoring of food, drug and device safety, giving Epidemico an opportunity to showcase our latest tools for digital epidemiology advancement.

Wenjie Bao presented a poster detailing the technical foundations of the SupplyChainMap featuring a case study on its use to identify, map, and describe potential contamination in the food supply chain. The project is being developed in collaboration with the Office of International Programs, demonstrating a novel approach to signal detection. This effort will advance the FDA’s ability to detect food safety signals by collecting meaningful data from open source media, enhancing the Agency’s awareness of potential risks within the global supply of FDA-regulated products. SupplyChainMap received enthusiastic interest from fellow Computing Day attendees, with many inquiring about application of the system in the areas of drug safety, medical device monitoring and infectious disease surveillance.

Michael Gilbert presented a poster that described findings from a pilot social listening system for tobacco product surveillance. The project was developed in collaboration with the Center for Tobacco Products, and initially focused on monitoring user experiences and perceptions associated with electronic cigarettes as a prelude to expansion to cover more products under CTP’s purview. Findings from the pilot system included analyses of adverse experiences described by electronic cigarette users, language used to identify and describe products, and the distribution of sentiments towards electronic cigarette use. Visitors from CTP and other Centers were keen to explore social media as a data source for monitoring of FDA-regulated products, and expressed particular interest in the use of social listening as a means for rapid analysis of products as they come to market.

As Dr. D.J Patil, the first U.S. Chief Data Scientist, said in his opening remarks for this year’s event, a great data driven company is one that uses data to identify areas for intervention, to build a product that serves the needs of its users, and to iterate and validate their innovations. Epidemico has been on this path since its inception and is constantly developing new technologies to advance the state of public health sciences both domestically and internationally. We are looking forward to continued collaboration with our FDA partners to improve product safety and drive regulatory science innovation!