Research pathologists have developed and implemented a real-time Internet report to track influenza cases across hospital settings. The details of this report were published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases.
The researchers extracted de-identified laboratory results data for the Sophia influenza A+B fluorescent immunoassay and Biofire Respiratory Pathogen Panel test. Data included specimen collection date, facility, and results of all influenza and respiratory pathogen tests. A total of 4 interactive charts were produced following further data assessment and aggregation, which were published to a public-facing web server. Validation of the report was performed by comparing generated data from the researchers’ laboratory information system. Visitor statistics, including Internet protocol addresses, were collected.
The first chart, Influenza, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, & Rhinovirus/Enterovirus Positivity (Molecular & Antigen), demonstrated the number of positive tests for organisms over a specified queried time period. In the second chart, Influenza, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, & Rhinovirus/Enterovirus Positivity (Molecular & Antigen, By Location), the report shows the number of each pathogen identified by either antigen or molecular testing at each center. The third chart, Respiratory Pathogen Positive Rates (Percent Positive), displayed the rate of molecular test positivity for each pathogen as well as for subsets of influenza A, influenza B, respiratory syncytial virus, and rhinovirus/enterovirus. Finally, chart 4, Respiratory Pathogen Test Results, demonstrated pathogen numbers detected by the pathologists’ molecular test over a specified queried time period. According to the researchers, the interactive website report offered near real-time data, allowing clinicians to make a decision regard influenza testing to be made approximately 1 week earlier “than otherwise would have been possible using federal and state data.”
“Based on the data provided by our laboratory in this report and [US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/World Health Organization] guidelines for epidemics, our primary care group stopped laboratory testing for influenza and treated symptomatic patients as if they were influenza positive,” the researchers wrote. “Access to accurate real-time data during an epidemic influenza season can guide diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.”
The full report can be accessed at https://flu.houstonmethodist.org.
Christensen PA, Olsen RJ, Perez KK, Cernoch PL, Long SW. Real-time communication with health care providers through an online respiratory pathogen laboratory report. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2018;5(12):ofy322.