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CDC Releases Influenza App

Flu season is in full swing, and if the amount of news articles I’ve read about it is any indicator of how serious it has been, I’m surprised no one I know has gotten it yet. In an attempt to help educate people about what’s going on, and how to prevent getting the flu themselves, the CDC launched an app totally dedicated to it. It’s name is plain and simple — CDC Influenza. 

It seems as if the CDC is getting rather tech-savvy, with the recent release of their new mobile app. And apparently, the CDC feels that the influenza outbreak this year is serious enough to warrant it’s own mobile app. Unfortunately, unlike the CDC app, it’s only available for iOS devices, so anyone with an Android phone or tablet is out of luck. Luckily, my husband and I just purchased an iPad mini, so I can actually review it.

Before I downloaded it, I saw this article about the app. It talks about the mixed reviews of the app, but how it is overall helpful. I found myself feeling the same way as I browsed through the options. Here is the menu, and what the app has to offer:

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Overall, I found everything to be very information-heavy. I found pages of information that I didn’t really want to read. There are a lot of different sections though, so anyone that is interested in the flu might find it useful. I think it’s good that the app includes information about the vaccination and the safety of it, because I know that’s an issue of concern with a lot of people.

I did like that there was a map which showed where the flu was, and how widespread it was. As you can see below, it’s pretty much everywhere. That’s enough to make me want to coop up inside until Spring!

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The app seemed a little bit slow and jumpy to me. It seemed like every few minutes, a box that says “Updating Content…” would pop up, and for the next few minutes, the app was unusable. I’m not sure why that happened — perhaps there is just a lot of important updates?

This definitely seems more like an app for physicians to download. I think it’s probably important for them to be informed about the current situation and be able to access this information while visiting with patients. I could imagine our physician using this app on his tablet to answer questions. For just anyone though, I think this isn’t the most user-friendly app, as it’s more just informative, unless the person is really interested in learning about influenza.

January 23, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

CDC Launches New Mobile App

It was only a matter of time before the CDC developed a mobile app — and it looks like it is jam-packed with features. Unfortunately for me, it isn’t compatible with my mobile device, but I was able to read enough about it, to make me wish I could download it. The CDC is one of my go-to websites, so I’m sure the mobile app is just as good.

Available for most Android and iOS devices, this is free for all. Some of the features include:

  • CDC Health articles: These are written by “subject matter experts and health communicators,” and are on a variety of topics. 
  • Disease of the week: This feature has quizzes, prevention tips, images and videos pertaining to a certain topic. I like to think of this as “convince yourself that you have this disease” of the week. Okay, not really. But I could see myself doing that.
  • CDC Vital Signs: This contains information that relates to public health topics, and “calls to action” about them. It has information on everything from seatbelt use to HIV testing to obesity.
  • Newsroom: Simple enough, this contains press releases from the CDC. They often release important information, so this might be helpful to have on hand.
  • Podcasts

For those accessing the CDC app from a tablet, it has been optimized to work better there. It can be used on the iPad, and the Google Play Store tested (and fount it to work well) on the Google Nexus 7″, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1″, Amazon Kindle Fire, Motorola Xoom 10.1″, Samsung Galaxy 1, 7″, and the Samsung Galaxy 2, 7″.

From what I can tell, this is a great resource. For anyone that follows the CDC on a regular basis, this is a must-have. I think it would be interesting if the CDC would add some kind of notification system — if there’s an outbreak of illness or disease on someone’s area, they would be instantly notified. That could end up causing widespread panic, but I think it could be a great feature. Overall though, I wish I could download this app to my phone, because it does have a lot of different functions.

As I mentioned, this is a free app available for both Android and iOS devices.

January 14, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Sickweather Uses Social Networking to “Forecast” Sickness

One of the most amazing things about social networking is the sheer amount of information that is out there.  People comment about where they are, what they are eating, where they are shopping, and what they are watching.  Companies have been using this media to better target their audience, as well as getting feedback on their products and services.  Now we may be able to use this mass of information to help avoid getting sick.

Sickweather uses social media to track keywords like bronchitis or stomach flu in association with location tags to generate a sort of weather map of sickness in your area.  The obvious direct impact is that you can better see when sickness is infiltrating your circle of friends so that you can avoid them until the sickness passes.  That means you may skip out on a BBQ and thus stay healthy.  By stopping the spread of illness in small circles we prevent the spread of disease in large groups as well.

While they don’t appear to be targeting larger organizations like the CDC to help combat disease, they would be crazy to not use this information on a bigger scale.  That may very well be in the long term plans at Sickweather once they have proof of concept, as they are still only in beta testing at this point.

For more information, and to sign up to be a beta tester you can visit their website at www.sickweather.com.

June 16, 2011 I Written By

CDC Flu App Challenge: Win up to $15,000

Everyone hates getting the flu, and if you are anything like me you hate getting a flu shot even more.  Well now there is a way for you to make some money courtesy of the flu, and the CDC.  The Center for Disease Control is sponsoring a contest for people to develop an app that is, “an innovative use of technology to raise awareness of influenza and/or educate consumers on ways to prevent and treat the flu.

The contest is challenging participants to create new ways to use technology for the web, personal computers, mobile handheld devices, or any other platform broadly accessible to the open internet.  They will even provide the data for you from a list of websites that you can find here.

The winners can receive up to $15,000 cash as well as having their app featured on the CDC website. Submissions can be entered through the website below between April 6, 2011 and May 27, 2011.

For full contest details and to submit your entry please go to the contest website.

May 2, 2011 I Written By