Friday, January 13, 2012

Google Flu Trends a Good Warning System for EDs

Dan Bowman, FierceHealthIT, Jan. 10, 2012

From the report: "Why wait for a slow, clunky government report to learn about illness trends in your area when, with the click of a mouse, you can do so in near real time? That's the gist of a report published this week in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, which concludes that targeted Internet traffic can serve as a good predictor of patient activity for hospitals. Specifically, the study looks at use of Google's Flu Trends (GFT) over a 21-month period, from Jan. 2009 through Oct. 2010 in Baltimore. Johns Hopkins researchers, led by Richard Rothman, MD, PhD, found that the number of searches for flu information on the Internet spiked simultaneously with the number of cases of children who presented with flu-like symptoms at Hopkins' pediatric ED. The search results provide data seven to 10 days before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's U.S. Influenza Sentinel Provider Surveillance Network can present the same information, according to researchers." Read more

See Also
Google Flu Trends: Correlation With Emergency Department Influenza Rates and Crowding Metrics
Oxford Journals Clinical Infectious Diseases 

Hopkins Researchers Find "Google Flu Trends" A Powerful Early Warning System for Emergency Departments
FierceHealthIT, Mark Guidera, Jan. 10, 2012