A new study concludes that “revising the inner plumbing” of the Google Flu Trends disease surveillance system can improve the accuracy of forecasts for the severity of a flu season.

During the 2012/2013 flu season, GFT predicted 10.6 percent of the population had influenza-like illness when only 6.1 percent did according to patient records. The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, notes that GFT predictions during other flu seasons, particularly the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, also were off-base.

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