This story that I picked up on slashdot says that the Centers for Disease Control have partnered with GE Healthcare to receive data on 14 million patients in their network. (Of course, I cannot actually find an announcement from the CDC about this.) The data will be collected on a daily basis and provide information on flu prevalence and spread. To see the current information the CDC uses for flu surveillance go here and for the most recent flu activity go here.  Compared to previous CDC surveillance, this method has the advantage of a huge database with timely responses. Of course, samples will still need to be analyzed to classify flu as seasonal or H1N1 (or other variants) which will add some delay in knowing which flu is active and when. My hope is that the CDC allows easier access to the data. I understand we will not receive the medical records for individuals, but some summary statistics on a reasonable spatial/time scale would be helpful.

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06 November 2009