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TriageLogic’s sophisticated call center software technology allows for real-time data collection and reporting, and it can be a valuable early warning system for communities. In addition the system can track data such as: caller ZIP Codes to look for pockets of disease, patient demographics (such as age and gender), and the number of callers sent to the ER to assess severity of illnesses in concentrated areas.
To give an example, we compiled and compared the percentage of callers who called with cold and flu-like symptoms from one of our nurse triage centers using our call center software. We compared November to January data. This same type of report can be used to generate information in real time and alert epidemiologists if there is a surge of a specific combination of issues.
The center assisted over twenty-seven and a half thousand callers between November 1 and December 31, 2012. In the fi rst two weeks of November, about 24% of callers had flu-like symptoms. In contrast, almost 35% of the callers in the last two weeks of December had
symptoms related to flu such as cold, cough, fever, or pneumonia. We now compare the late December and January numbers.
The chart above gives a week-by-week percentage of callers with flu-like symptoms from the last week of December until January 20. The data consist of an average of about 4,000 calls a week. As we can see in the chart, the percentage of callers with flu-like symptoms decreased steadily, suggesting that we might have already peaked in the flu season. The percentage of callers between Jan. 14 and 20 was down to about 26%. This could be great news if the trend continues because it would mean that the flu season is behind us. We will continue to monitor the percentage of callers with flu-like symptoms to help predict outbreaks. The information is available in our website.