Two local companies are offering their technology to help doctors and the health care community respond to the threat of swine flu.
Fairfax-based RollStream Inc., which provides online collaboration and management tools for business, began offering its software and services May 1 on a pro bono basis to health care organizations, corporations, and government agencies that are charged with responding to the flu.
Users of Rollstream’s remotely hosted software can set up “secure, policy-controlled communities of suppliers, customers, or other partners; deliver auditable communications to thousands of contacts; share training or policy documents; and capture critical preparedness data in real-time,” according to the company. Rollstream also will deliver all hosted data and content back to the health care community owners once the swine flu threat has subsided.
“We have already used RollStream to communicate with our affected health care product suppliers, ensuring that [we are] ready to deliver the products required to minimize the impact of swine flu,” said Gavin Jeffs, operating vice president of supplier relations at medical supply distributor Owens & Minor Inc, in a statement. “The ability to gather up-to-the-minute data and maintain a direct, open dialogue with our thousands of supplier contacts is paramount during a situation like this.”
Vienna-based Ozmosis Inc., which provides a social networking Web site that doctors can use for collaboration, continuing education and sharing ideas, has been testing new real-time health alerts for about six weeks in a joint project with Kirkland, Wash.-based Veratect Corp., which tracks disease outbreaks globally and was the first to report the spread of Swine Flu, according to the companies.
In addition to what a traditional RSS news feed would provide in terms of swine flu and pandemic medical alerts, Ozmosis’ Web forum allows doctors to view, search and filter through alerts state by state; discuss management and treatment options, share health department and Center for Disease Control (CDC) updates; and to submit potential cases for review. Those cases are evaluated by Veratect and the results are reported back to Ozmosis, the CDC and other health agencies.
“While we had not intended to publicly launch the Health Alerts solution yet, the recent events around the Swine Infulenza outbreaks have caused us to push ahead,” wrote Ozmosis co-founder Dr. Jason Bhan on his blog.
“Since opening Health Alerts to the Ozmosis community, a growing number of physicians are now receiving real-time updates and discussing the Influenza outbreaks across the country,” he added. “Assessments are already being submitted by doctors in New York and Ozmosis is working with Veratect to allow them to compile more accurate reports to health agencies.”
Use of many social media technologies such as RSS feeds have seen a spike from a frenzy of mentions of swine flu, including such activity on the Web site Twitter. Both Veratect and the CDC now have tens of thousands of Twitter followers, and the World Health Organization also has released an RSS feed for swine flu updates.
Washington Business Journal - by Darlene Darcy Staff Reporter