With the current H1N1 flu (swine flu) pandemic under way, many public health officials are concerned that critical healthcare resources could be stretched thin as people flood hospital emergency departments and physicians’ offices to determine whether they have the illness. In response, Microsoft Corp. announced a new Web site, H1N1 Response Center (http://www.h1n1responsecenter.com), which provides users with timely and relevant content and enables consumers to gauge symptoms and receive guidance using an H1N1 self-assessment service.
“If current estimates are correct, many emergency departments across the nation could be overwhelmed by two groups of patients — those who have H1N1 and those who believe they have H1N1,” said Angela Gardner, M.D., FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. “It is going to be essential that we use every tool and service at our disposal to contain this illness, and online H1N1 self-assessment tools, such as the one offered by Microsoft, can be helpful in providing people with ways to determine whether they should seek emergency care.”
Designed to help people decide what to do if they are worried that they or someone they know might have H1N1, the site offers consumers a self-assessment licensed from medical and public health experts at Emory University. The service assists people in deciding whether their symptoms could be caused by the H1N1 flu virus and provides guidance on what they can do next.