iPhone offers more than 60 swine flu-related apps

By Brian Dolan

IntuApps Swine Flu App"We took all the necessary precautions. Like, we really did. It wasn't like I was licking the handlebars of the bus or anything," she said. "I was hand sanitizing. I was being very careful. I don't know how this happened."

Such were the sentiments of one frustrated college freshman after she contracted H1N1 during her first few days of being a student at the University of Kansas. As of this past Monday, about 340 students at the school were believed to have H1N1. That's about 1 percent of the student body. While vaccines for H1N1 are expected to be available on campus by late October, they take about five weeks to become effective. So the school's strategy in the meantime has been to distribute face masks and a sheet of health tips from the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) to students.

Back in April at the American Telemedicine Association's conference in Las Vegas, IBM's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Bakalar said that a potential swine flu pandemic would be better managed through home health telemonitoring systems. Bakalar said that the management of swine flu is a perfect example of why we need to de-centralize healthcare in some situations. Care needs to be extended beyond the four walls of the hospital or doctor's office and find a place in the patient's home, too.

"Look at our current situation with swine flu," Bakalar said. "If we were to have a pandemic outbreak of swine flu, it would be better to take care of those patients through home healthcare technology" instead of bringing them into the clinical setting where the flu could just continue to spread.

In early May we noted that there were already two iPhone apps related to Swine Flu or H1N1. These first applications appeared soon after H1N1 worries became widespread. The first applications included health tips from the CDC, Google Maps mash-ups indicating H1N1 diagnoses and real-time threat assessment information from the WHO. In short, the early apps showed that mobile phones were an ideal platform for creating timely health management tools quickly.

The iPhone now has more than 60 H1N1-related applications that offer various services, alerts and even swine flu-related games.

For more on the H1N1 cases at University of Kansas, check out this article from CNN