October 12, 2009 | | Comments 0
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Interactive Web site helps determine when flu symptoms are serious and when to seek help

Trying to decide whether that cough and on and off fever is something you should go see your doctor about? Debating to wait in the crowded Emergency Room for hours to see if you have swine flu? Well, what if you could determine the severity of your symptoms and whether a visit to the doctor is necessary, without ever leaving the comfort of your own home.

Microsoft has launched an interactive Web site; H1N1 Response Center, that will help determine just that. Using an assessment tool licensed by Emory University, the Web site aims to help consumers’ determine whether or not their symptoms are consistent with the H1N1 virus and if they should seek medical help.

H1N1 Response Center asks a series of questions to help determine the severity of the case. The individual answering the questionnaire must disclose their age, gender, and zip code and answer questions relating to how long they have felt like they might have the flu.

Questions like;  ” has your temperature been higher than 100.4º F (38º C) within the last 24 hours”  and “do you have a cough or sore throat” must be answered by clicking on the available options.

Based on how the individual answers each question, the H1N1 Response Center will format an individualized response. If the symptoms are severe, then the Web site suggests you see a doctor immediately. If the answers are less severe, the site suggests visiting a walk-in clinic.

Microsoft makes it clear that they are offering guidance and that based on the responses, the answer is meant to tell the individual what some experts think. The site also has links to more educational information on H1N1 flu.

Do you think this Web site is effective? Would you suggest patients and staff members use this to keep patients out of crowded waiting and emergency rooms?

Source: Information Week


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Sarah Kearns About the Author: Sarah is an Editorial Assistant in the patient safety group at HCPro, Inc. She contributes to two monthly newsletters; Briefings on the Joint Commission and Briefings on Patient Safety, and manages four e-zines; Accreditation Connection, AHAP Staff Challenge, Nurse Manager Weekly, and Healthcare Training Weekly. She also helps research new products for the patient safety and nursing market. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2008 where she earned her bachelor's degree in English.

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