They have suggested that a close monitoring of the Internet search traffic about influenza may be better effective in dealing with hospital emergency rooms situation that sees a flurry of sick patients during the winter.
The report on the value of the Internet search tool for emergency departments carried out a study over a 21-month period that was published in the journal 'Clinical Infectious Diseases'. The team that carried out the study said that 'Google Flu Trends' collects vital data on search traffic information on flu. They update the information on a daily basis by detecting and analyzing certain flu-related search terms. Combined with the search queries this information becomes a potent tool for flu indication.
The researchers pointed out a strong link between the Internet searches for flu information through Google's Flu Trends tool and the people landing up in hospital emergency rooms due to flu-like symptoms.
Richard Rothman, an emergency medicine physician at the Johns Hopkins University School stated that he hopes to develop a reliable surveillance model for flu cases that could lead to an early warning sign for emergency care workers. This will ultimately help emergency department directors and senior administrators to be better prepared to beef up staff and opening up patient annexes.