While vaccinations have been used to help prevent multiple diseases, there has been a recent surge amongst patients in developed countries to refuse their administration.

While the reasons are multifactorial, the fact remains that there is still research to be conducted to understand precise reasons for refusal.

As such, recent research presented at the International Meeting on Emerging Diseases and Surveillance (February 2013) by Murphy and colleagues from the University of Iowa, demonstrated the construction of a mobile app for this purpose.

The app, appropriately named ‘Vaccine Refused,’ is designed to help track vaccination refusal through an iPhone. Data collected includes patient demographics (e.g. sex, age, race), the vaccination refused, and the location of the refusal. All information is securely recorded and stored at the University of Iowa.

So what’s the point of creating such an app?

First off, it is now recognized that mobile devices pose a great way to crowdsource information, particularly for medical research. Second, by providing a tool for quick and simple data entry in the palm of their hands, the app may encourage healthcare professionals to report this data. Third, the data may be beneficial for previously mentioned reasons of ascertaining where and for what reasons patients are refusing vaccinations.

By doing so, it may be possible to recognize populations that may benefit from further interventions or identify populations for potential disease risk. Further research integrating mobile devices for data collection may be very beneficial, such as drug trials and epidemiological studies.