Symplur brings new insights into healthcare with social media data and linkurious.js

Learn how Symplur, a social media healthcare analytics startup used the linkurious.js graph visualization javascript library to provide better insights into public health to scientist, analysts and decision-makers.

Symplur taps into social media data to offers insights into healthcare

Symplur is the leading social media healthcare analytics firm. Its research analytics tool, Signals, aims to empower decision-making with real-time access to insights from over a billion healthcare social media data points. Used by institutions, healthcare systems, multinational healthcare agencies, and government offices, Symplur Signals gives its users analytical tools to answer healthcare questions.

Audun Utengen, CEO of Symplur

Audun Utengen, co-founder of Symplur at the Stanford Medicine X conference

Symplur is tracking over 15,000 health topics such as diseases, symptoms, drugs and other medical terms. It is also able to categorize who is discussing these topics between doctors, patients, caregivers, researcher or pharmaceutical company.

“This deep understanding of conversations means we can understand the communities that form around topics, who are the influencers or what issues are trending” explains Audun Utengen, co-founder of Symplur. “Our challenge was to make sure our users could find the answers to these questions in a simple and interactive way” adds Utengen.

linkurious.js helps Symplur deliver a new product quickly

Representing social media data as a graph felt natural to the Symplur team. In Twitter for example, there are accounts connected to the other accounts they follow, reply to or retweet. This can be modeled as a network of nodes and edges or a graph. “As data scientists, we were aware that graph visualization is very effective to analyse graph data. In one look, an untrained eye can see how things are connected, identify important nodes or outliers” explains Thomas Lee, co-founder of Symplur.

Thomas Lee, co-founder of Symplur

Thomas Lee, co-founder of Symplur

The Symplur team evaluated various graph visualization libraries like sigma.js or d3.js to build its interface. In the end, it chose linkurious.js because it sped up its development time. “For us, it was much more cost effective than developing something in-house even with the open source projects out there as a starting point. When I realized that had already created a complete framework we could use to build our own interface, using linkurious.js was an easy decision”.

The Symplur engineers involved in the project were not familiar with graph data or graph analysis in general but were able to build a first working prototype in 2 weeks. “Having access to documentation and quick support has helped us move quickly” says Utengen.

Finding the answer hidden in social media data through visualization

Today Symplur Signals users can find answers in social media data with a graph visualization interface powered by linkurious.js. Symplur’s customers can now immediately answer questions like: what doctors interact the most with patients within the topic of breast cancer? what stakeholders are pharma companies engaging with? who are caregivers to patients with type 1 diabetes reaching out to?

Network analysis of healthcare stakeholders

Network analysis of healthcare stakeholders with Symplur Signals

Integrating linkurious.js into their product has enabled Symplur to deliver its users an easy and interactive way to find concrete insights hidden in in over a billion healthcare social media data points. “Now that we have implemented linkurious.js into our product and we are finding more and more ways to extract value from our data” says Lee.

Symplur Signals has become a trusted social media analytics platform within the healthcare industry. There are already over 60 published journal articles using Symplur data, and the Symplur team has deep relationships with several of the most renown academic, governmental and commercial institutions of the world. Symplur Signals keeps expanding to digest more healthcare datasets. It is starting with social data but Symplur Signals can integrate other public health datasets to allow users to answer deeper and more valuable questions.

“We’re observing that the market is maturing in the way it use our platform. They started using it as a self-monitoring and benchmarking tool, to a market communication research product, and now as a business intelligence platform. We’re incredibly grateful to serve the market we are in and we’re very excited to soon reveal new areas where we are going to make an impact” says Utengen.


Symplur has used linkurious.js to deliver an innovative product which turns social media data into a valuable source of answer for healthcare challenges. You can try the linkurious.js graph visualization library too and find new value in your data!

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