"There isn't a better use case out there, but I'm not sure if we're using it the right way," Dente admits. "We are not best at marketing sometimes."
The intent of the program is more about alerting providers earlier in the process that there is a spike of H1N1 in their region so they have more time to prepare rather than communicating outbreaks to the public, explains Dente. "Do we have enough beds available? Do we need to get more resources in the area?"
Getting the general public on board with having their personal health information collected digitally and used for population-based studies is something that should probably be focused on a bit more, Dente says. "People may not understand the nuance in de-identified aggregated clinical information and that is something that we need to make folks aware of." When monitoring an outbreak, 36-hours could make a significant difference, he says.
"Here is a perfect example of how truly de-identified data can be used from a public health perspective and show how quickly information can be shared rather than the traditional methods that would take weeks," says Dente. "It is just intuitive that someone could see the value in it."