Flu season ramps up for 2017/18

  | November 17, 2017

It's November: time for healthcare organizations to prep for an influx of influenza.

In Park City, Utah, STAT+MD Urgent Care is already bracing for the onslaught. “We'll have many, many sick locals and tourists coming into the clinic," says CMO Jennifer Knepper, M.D. “In urgent care, flu season is probably the busiest season for us. It starts end of November and goes through March."

In 2016 – 2017, flu season was less intense, but lasted longer, according to data drawn from the athenaInsight flu dashboard, which taps information on more than 1 million patient visits per week to more than 25,000 pediatricians, primary care providers, and emergency medical providers on athenahealth's national network. Data from the network also showed that seniors continued to skip flu shots, cases peaked in children sooner than adults, and giving vaccines too early kept the flu around longer.

For practice managers, more data on flu behavior is always welcomed. “If we had a better way to forecast how quickly the flu was moving,” says STAT+MD owner Bryan Knepper, “it would allow me as a business owner to forecast staffing and supply needs and be ready for my patients when they walk through the door.” 

What will this year hold? Check out the athenaInsight 2017 – 2018 flu dashboard to keep track of flu activity in your region, week by week. And don't forget to cover that cough.

Video produced by Courtney Hayes. Tracy Mayor contributed to this report.

Flu season ramps up for 2017/18