athenahealth flu dashboard
As usual, the U.S. flu season begins just as most Americans are gathering with friends and family for the holidays. With notable overlap between influenza-like symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms, and a particularly bad 2022 flu season in Australia, it is imperative that clinicians and patients remain vigilant when it comes to influenza-like illness (ILI).
Given that data show symptomatic patients may be spreading ILI in the doctor’s office, clinicians may want to continue to lean into telehealth as an option to control the spread of contagious illness.
One remaining question is whether or not late 2022 to early 2023 will see another COVID spike that could encourage a return to social distancing, resulting in fewer cases of ILI.
athenahealth is tracking the spread of the flu throughout the U.S. using its network data to measure influenza-like symptoms across 1.4 million patient visits per week among more than 25,000 pediatricians, primary care providers, and emergency medical providers.
Early data suggest a spike in ILI compared to the last two years, with ILI representing 1.23% of visits by October — a more than two-fold increase compared to last year. And the early fall is showing particularly high rates of ILI in Southern states like Mississippi, Georgia, and Texas. Although it may be too soon to make firm predictions, current signs suggest clinicians should prepare for a severe flu season, a real deviation from the last two years under COVID restrictions.
The interactive graphics above show data on patient visits involving ILI by state on a weekly basis and a line chart with year-over-year comparisons to past flu seasons — click on the buttons at the top to switch between the Map and Comparison views.
Our methodology: Using diagnosis codes from insurance claims data at the state and national level, the dashboard quantifies how many patients with influenza-like illness (ILI) are seen by a provider and estimates the proportion of symptomatic patients as a portion of all patients seen. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines influenza-like illness as either a specific diagnosis of influenza or a fever co-presenting with a cough or sore throat, which is how ILI symptomatic patients have been defined in this dataset.