Virtual Health Limits Spread of Disease During Epidemic Flu Season
This year’s flu season has been particularly bad, with the CDC officially stating that it has reached “epidemic” levels. Unfortunately, as has been widely reported, this year’s flu shot was only 10% effective against a widespread strain of flu that is particularly difficult to treat with a flu shot. As hospital emergency departments and urgent care centers become overrun with flu patients, concerns of spreading the illness due to proximity are resulting in hospitals turning to virtual health to potentially reduce its spread. In some areas, virtual visits for flu treatment have doubled from normal levels, slowing the spread of the illness and allowing hospitals to focus on severe flu cases that require emergent care.
In addition to providing clinical value, virtual technology is being used to track the flu. Kinsa Inc, a health technology company, uses “smart thermometers” to track temperatures across the country and identify which areas of the country are most severely affected by the flu epidemic. With its smart thermometers owned by more than 500,000 US households, the company receives approximately 25,000 readings per day, allowing it to almost instantaneously identify fever spikes in states and cities across the nation. This information can enable public health officials and health systems to more effectively deploy additional resources to areas of need.
Don’t have a virtual health offering to provide flu treatment or other services for your patient population ? Refer to Sg2’s Virtual Health Starter Kit to learn how virtual health can play an important role in your organization’s strategy. Not an Sg2 member? Contact us to learn more.