Crowdsourcing applications for public health

Am J Prev Med. 2014 Feb;46(2):179-87. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.10.016.


Crowdsourcing is an online, distributed, problem-solving, and production model that uses the collective intelligence of networked communities for specific purposes. Although its use has benefited many sectors of society, it has yet to be fully realized as a method for improving public health. This paper defines the core components of crowdsourcing and proposes a framework for understanding the potential utility of crowdsourcing in the domain of public health. Four discrete crowdsourcing approaches are described (knowledge discovery and management; distributed human intelligence tasking; broadcast search; and peer-vetted creative production types) and a number of potential applications for crowdsourcing for public health science and practice are enumerated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Crowdsourcing / methods*
  • Crowdsourcing / trends
  • Humans
  • Public Health / methods*
  • Public Health / trends