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J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2012 Jul-Aug;19(4):549-54. doi: 10.1136/amiajnl-2011-000382. Epub 2011 Dec 1.

Triaging patients at risk of influenza using a patient portal.

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Department of Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.


Vanderbilt University has a widely adopted patient portal, MyHealthAtVanderbilt, which provides an infrastructure to deliver information that can empower patient decision making and enhance personalized healthcare. An interdisciplinary team has developed Flu Tool, a decision-support application targeted to patients with influenza-like illness and designed to be integrated into a patient portal. Flu Tool enables patients to make informed decisions about the level of care they require and guides them to seek timely treatment as appropriate. A pilot version of Flu Tool was deployed for a 9-week period during the 2010-2011 influenza season. During this time, Flu Tool was accessed 4040 times, and 1017 individual patients seen in the institution were diagnosed as having influenza. This early experience with Flu Tool suggests that healthcare consumers are willing to use patient-targeted decision support. The design, implementation, and lessons learned from the pilot release of Flu Tool are described as guidance for institutions implementing decision support through a patient portal infrastructure.

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