UCL (University College London) is London’s leading multidisciplinary university, with 11000 staff, 35000 students and an annual income of over £1bn.
Funding from the MRC and the Wellcome Trust enabled UCL to run a project to collect weekly survey data from 10,000 individuals around the UK. The brief was to create an online system to make this data easy to collect and report on.
We created a system that allows people to take part in the surveys using a web-browser, by an automated phone service (IVR) or from other systems through ‘connectors’. Families are signed up by GP practices and given a login to the system to set up their details. They then system then automatically calls them every week and leads them through a series of questions.
This data is collected in a SQL Server Database, with UCL being able to monitor the results in real time and adjust the survey if needed.
A suite of reports is then available to allow UCL to analyse the results and map how influenza outbreaks spreads across the country over time.
The project was hugely successful in helping researchers understand how influenza spreads. This data is being used to create models for dealing with major outbreaks, particularly of avian flu. Funding was renewed on the back of the work.
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