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December 8, 2017

'Woozy face' and 24 other health care emojis coming to your phone (maybe)

Daily Briefing

    The Unicode Consortium, the international nonprofit that coordinates the popular Unicode standard for encoding text, on Monday announced its list of 130 "draft candidates" for new emojis—including "petri dish," "microbe," and dozens of others related to health care.

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    At least one of the proposed emojis was the center of a public health advocacy campaign: Marla Shaivitz of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Jeff Chertak of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation advocated for the creation of a mosquito emoji. According to the Baltimore Sun, the pair argued the "emoji could be used in communications campaigns and warnings" related to mosquito-borne viruses, such as malaria and Zika.

    According to the Unicode Consortium, the proposed emojis are "short-listed" as "candidates for inclusion in a future version of Unicode" but are not yet final. A final determination will be reached in the first quarter of 2018.

    Below is the full list of proposed emojis relevant to health care. (Full disclosure: We've had to make some editorial calls on what qualifies as "relevant" to health care. "Woozy face" made the cut. "Salt," although arguably a public health hazard, did not—nor did "raccoon," even though treatment for a raccoon bite has its own ICD-10 code, W55.51XA.)

    • hot face;
    • cold face;
    • woozy face;
    • leg;
    • leg: light skin tone;
    • leg: medium-light skin tone;
    • leg: medium skin tone;
    • leg: medium-dark skin tone;
    • leg: dark skin tone;
    • foot;
    • foot: light skin tone;
    • foot: medium-light skin tone;
    • foot: medium skin tone;
    • foot: medium-dark skin tone;
    • foot: dark skin tone;
    • bone;
    • tooth;
    • lab coat;
    • goggles;
    • microbe;
    • mosquito;
    • test tube;
    • petri dish;
    • DNA; and
    • soap (Unicode, Unicode Blog, 12/4; Unicode, "Draft Emoji Candidates," accessed 12/8; Cohn, Baltimore Sun, 9/20).

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