The need for swift, automated communications is garnering even more attention in the wake of increased concern over the H1N1 virus, commonly referred to as the swine flu.
The 2009 swine flu strain first showed up in April, so it’s gotten plenty of media attention for months. The disease is among the top news stories again as colleges reopen their doors. Within a week of starting classes, 47 cases of the disease were reported at the University of Kansas at Lawrence. Texas Christian University in Fort Worth quarantined some students in dormitories and temporarily suspended one education program.
The 2009 strain is a descendant of the swine flu of 1918 that infected nearly a third of the world’s population and resulted in 50 million deaths. The virility of the 1918 disease, combined with the media attention has resulted in more concern about the upcoming flu season than has been seen in several years.
Officials are racing to prepare for what is expected to be a large increase in the number of people seeking flu shots because of growing public unease about the swine flu. According to a White House report, 30 percent to half of the population could the disease, with death estimates ranging anywhere from 30,000 to 90,000. In a regular flu season, up to 20 percent of the population is infected and 36,000 die.
Health care officials in the U.S. and across the globe are all closely watching the progression of this flu strain. The U.S. Health and Human Services Department said no one has immunity to the disease. With all of this concern, healthcare providers will want to keep their patients abreast of the latest developments. They can proactively provide patients with information on ways to help prevent the disease and what steps to take if they still contract the flu.
By proactively providing patients with this information and by quickly scheduling appointments with those who do have flu-like symptoms, healthcare offices can help ensure that their patients receive fast, quality care. Prompt attention is one of the best ways of combating the swine flu and other health issues.