Feds Update Flu Apps - InformationWeek

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2/4/2013
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Feds Update Flu Apps

Centers for Disease Control have updated their two flu apps -- FluView and CDC Influenza -- for the busy flu season.

10 Mobile Health Apps From Uncle Sam
10 Mobile Health Apps From Uncle Sam
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have updated their two flu apps and data for the early-arriving, busy 2012-2013 flu season, according to recent postings on the government's mobile app gallery, apps.usa.gov.

The two apps are FluView and CDC Influenza. FluView just includes information on nationwide flu levels and trends, while CDC Influenza, which is targeted at healthcare professionals, includes that data as well as more detailed medical information.

FluView, designed for the iPhone, shows users flu activity levels around the country, and lets users view trends in that data over several week stretches. It also links users to state health department websites for more detailed local information.

[ Accuracy is the key issues when it comes to health apps. Read EHR Accuracy Remains Problem, CHIME Says. ]

The CDC Influenza app, meanwhile, comes in both iPhone and iPad versions, with an Android version on the way. The app includes flu activity information, vaccination and infection control recommendations, treatment and lab testing information and videos on the flu.

While CDC says that the data for the apps is updated regularly, CDC Influenza has earned only two and a half stars out of five by iTunes users, with multiple complaints about data being out of date.

The CDC's apps are far from being the only apps and websites for tracking and treating the flu. In 2011, CDC gave away $35,000 in prizes for its Flu App Challenge. The winning entrant was an online game named Flu-Ville in which users vaccinate residents of a virtual city and try to prevent the spread of flue.

Other apps available on iOS devices include Flu News and Genentech's Fight the Flu. Apps for Android include Flu Statistics and the privately-developed CDC Flu Informant.

Google's Flu Trends and Flu Near You are other websites that include data on recent flu activity. Flu Trends shows that flu activity peaked nationally in December and January and indicates that flu activity remains at least high in every state. Flu Near You crowdsources flu reports from its users and then maps the reports.

Other broader apps track the flu as well. For example, Dizie and MappyHealth analyze tweets worldwide, matches them with health information such as whether the tweet indicates that the Twitter user has the flu, and then plot those tweets in maps and graphs.

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NJ Mike
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NJ Mike,
User Rank: Moderator
2/8/2013 | 2:32:57 PM
re: Feds Update Flu Apps
"In 2011, CDC gave away $35,000 in prizes for its Flu App Challenge. The winning entrant was an online game named Flu-Ville in which users vaccinate residents of a virtual city and try to prevent the spread of flue. " - Do I read this right? The CDC gave our tax money to somebody for developing a game?
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