Web-based Self-Triage of Influenza-Like Illness During the 2009 H1N1 Influenza Pandemic

Published in: Annals of Emergency Medicine, v. 56, no. 3, Sep. 2010, p. 288-294, 294.e1-294.e6

by Arthur L. Kellermann, Alexander P. Isakov, Ruth M. Parker, Michael T. Handrigan, Seth Foldy

Read More

Access further information on this document at Annals of Emergency Medicine

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

The sudden emergence of 2009 H1N1 influenza in the spring of that year sparked a surge in visits to emergency departments in New York City and other communities. A larger, second wave of cases was anticipated the following autumn. To reduce a potential surge of health system utilization without denying needed care, we enlisted the input of experts from medicine, public health, nursing, information technology, and other disciplines to design, test, and deploy clinical algorithms to help minimally trained health care workers and laypeople make informed decisions about care-seeking for influenza-like illness. The product of this collaboration, named Strategy for Off-Site Rapid Triage (SORT) was disseminated in 2 forms. Static algorithms, posted on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web site, offered guidance to clinicians and telephone call centers on how to manage adults and children with influenza-like illness. In addition, 2 interactive Web sites, http://www.Flu.gov and http://www.H1N1ResponseCenter.com, were created to help adults self -assess their condition and make an informed decision about their need for treatment. Although SORT was anchored in a previously validated clinical decision rule, incorporated the input of expert clinicians, and was subject to small-scale formative evaluations during rapid standup, prospective evaluation is lacking. If its utility and safety are confirmed, SORT may prove to be a useful tool to blunt health system surge and rapidly collect epidemiologic data on future disease outbreaks.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/research-integrity.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.