Informing the front line about common respiratory viral epidemics

University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.
AMIA ... Annual Symposium proceedings / AMIA Symposium. AMIA Symposium 02/2007;
Source: PubMed


The nature of clinical medicine is to focus on individuals rather than the populations from which they originate. This orientation can be problematic in the context of acute healthcare delivery during routine winter outbreaks of viral respiratory disease where an individuals likelihood of viral infection depends on knowledge of local disease incidence. The level of interest in and perceived utility of community and regional infection data for front line clinicians providing acute care is unclear. Based on input from clinicians, we developed an automated analysis and reporting system that delivers pathogen-specific epidemic curves derived from a viral panel that tests for influenza, RSV, adenovirus, parainfluenza and human metapneumovirus. Surveillance summaries were actively e-mailed to clinicians practicing in emergency, urgent and primary care settings and posted on a web site for passive consumption. We demonstrated the feasibility and sustainability of a system that provides both timely and clinically useful surveillance information.

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