I would recommend you to check out what Google.org does. In short, Google.org aims to use the power of IT to address the global challenges of our age. First, I should say, the aim itslef is so high, that it positions Google as a special company that cares for the world.
Today, I came across an interesting initiative by Google.org - To track Flu Trends in United States. It could look like Google Trends, that projects the patterns and trends in search of specific keywords. However, the key distinguishing factor in Google.Org initiative is that Google is trying to accurately model real-world phenomena using patterns in search queries. In simpler terms, if there are more searches for Flu symptoms, there is a possibility that there is a flu breakout in that specific state/region. It gives a state-wise graphical representation of Flu Trends in US based on the aggregation of related search queries.
Now, if the tool can help predict the outbreak, it would certainly help a lot in preventing too. And early detection of the outbreak can reduce the number of actual people who get affected. Instead of constanly debating whether IT matters or not, I think we should appreciate companies like Google that really does something about and makes us believe that IT can help in solving real-world problems