New York City-based Kinsa Health, maker of an FDA-cleared smartphone-connected thermometer, has launched a new feature, called Groups, so that parents can track the collective health of the student population at their child's school.
Using the Groups feature, which is open to all US public schools, parents can anonymously share their child's temperature using the Kinsa thermometer or by manually entering it into the app. Parents can also submit the child's symptoms. Using this information, Kinsa creates a "health report card" for each group that explains how many kids at the school are sick and what their symptoms are, which helps parents decide whether to take their child to the doctor. This data also provides the child's doctor with context.
"By joining a Group, you’ll be able to see a real-time snapshot of the health of your child’s school," Kinsa Project Manager Erin Koehler said in a blog post. "See how many children at the school are sick and which symptoms are going around or post an anonymous message to share a doctor’s diagnosis or pose a health-related question. We hope this information will empower you and your doctor to make the most informed decisions possible."
Parents can use the in-app messaging feature to share the doctor's diagnosis after an office visit or ask a health-related question to the group.
Kinsa first launched Groups in a private beta at the end of January. At the time, 17 schools were testing the service including Austin, Texas-based Travis Heights Elementary, which serves 500 kids between preschool and fifth grade.
"In today's hyper-connected society, there is no effective way to track symptoms and illness at the local level – Kinsa aims to change that," Kinsa Founder and CEO Inder Singh said in a statement. "Kinsa's Groups feature will help parents know 'what's going around' their community so they can get their children better faster or avoid getting sick in the first place."
In future updates, Kinsa said it would allow users to create custom groups, so that a user could, for example, create a group for their office or a group for their neighborhood.
As of a few months ago, the Kinsa thermometer is much easier to purchase. In December 2014, Kinsa announced that the thermometer was available at CVS and Apple Stores across the US as well as online at Amazon, Apple.com, and Kinsa’s website.