Government Support

CDC

  • Multiple web-tools and references for healthcare providers and the population on the flu and how to approach it.

Flu.gov

  • Trackers and maps to help the population find where to get help and vaccination. Works off a lot of the earlier sites mentioned.


What about Apps?

Let me be clear, I was very disappointed here. There are so many apps in the various app stores dedicated to the Swine Flu still available (someone needs to clean up the app store at times).

Additionally, there are  multiple pharmaceutical advertisement apps around that have not been updated. Overall, there seems to be very few apps dedicated to help the population or healthcare providers. Even more disappointing, some apps have not been updated for this season when we most need them.

Some apps worth mentioning are:

  • Flu Near You has a mobile based app
    • This app alerts users to how many flu cases have been reported through the app
    • Identifies locations of vaccination clinics near the user
  • Flu.gov FluTracker
    • Flu tracking app that was submitted in part for the CDC Flu App Challenge.
  • CDC has several apps
    • FluView
      • Tracks influenza-like illnesses reported through the US Outpatient Influenza-Like Illness Surveillance Network
      • Trends available over several weeks
      • On-demand access to local health department websites
    • CDC Professional Provider App
      • Displays national flu activity
      • Influenza vaccination recommendations per CDC and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
      • Diagnosis and treatment information along with information on infection control and laboratory testing

What now?

Technology moves fast. That can never be understated. In this case we have seen a large development of trackers and collection of data that has helped show where the flu has hit. This needs to be developed further.

Instead of monitoring, we need to leverage data to be proactive.

  • Development of monitoring systems using this information to alert areas that are being hit in order to initiate public health initiatives and warn healthcare providers and organizations that they are likely to see an increase in cases
    • May allow collection of medications and vaccinations to be allocated to certain areas
    • Adjustments in hospitals to make room for cases and clear bedspaces or set up their protocols and re-educate staff on procedures
  • Implementation of early warning system for patients at high risk (e.g. pulmonary disorders, pregnant women) are informed by healthcare organizations and insurers on vaccination and healthcare advice.
  • Creation of web-based tools or apps to help identify locations of vaccinations. Media and healthcare organizations have advised the population to get vaccinations, but as many are facing, there is a shortage of vaccines.
    • Organizations can collate their stock and spread to the population where to go to get a vaccination, and help stem the frustration many are experiencing as they hop from offices or pharmacies.
  • Reinforce education for healthcare professionals on diagnosis and treatment (e.g. flu swabs, efficacy window for treatment) in areas that are likely to be hit by flu.
    • Conducted via social media campaign toward healthcare professionals
    • Creation of mobile based apps and websites for quick access supporting evidence based treatment guidelines for easy and quick reference
  • Predictive education of the population in areas being hit. With the identification of flu symptoms through social media, when an upflow occurs, health organizations can spread the info preventatively through networks to alert the general population.
    • Includes development of toolkits for the population for education, direction of care, and what to do proactively when an area appears to be at risk.

I would love to hear what others think may be great resources, or ideas for developers to tackle. We need to come together as healthcare providers to give insight and direction for those that are creating initiatives and projects for the future to help us be better practitioners and providers.