Hospital’s monitoring system a game-changer in fight against the flu

Feb. 5, 2018

Northwell Health, one of the largest health systems in the country, is implementing a one-of-a-kind biosurveillance system to proactively combat this historic, deadly influenza outbreak, reports CBS News contributor Dr. Tara Narula.

It’s all hands on deck at the emergency operations unit at Northwell Health on New York’s Long Island. With its cutting-edge flu surveillance system, they can take in information from all their hospitals in almost real time, bypassing the typical one-to two-week time lag on information from state and federal health officials.

Mary Mahoney, the vice president of emergency management says the system is a game changer. It allows them to send the appropriate resources to areas where they see a spike in cases.

“Things like do we have enough masks to protect our patients and our families and our staff,” Mahoney said. “If a large number of this population is pediatric population….Do we have the appropriate doses of Tamiflu for them if we’re going to be treating them with Tamiflu.”

Northwell’s biosurveillance unit could become a model for other hospital systems. They say their information could help public health officials hone in on zip codes and more specific locations for targeted outreach.

It could also be used to track and respond to other infectious disease outbreaks in the future.

CBS News has the full story

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