Flu on Call™: Improving Access to Antivirals During a Severe Pandemic

Friday, 13 February 2015: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Room LL20A (San Jose Convention Center)
Lisa Koonin, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
The impact of a severe influenza pandemic could be overwhelming to hospital emergency departments, clinics, and medical offices if large numbers of ill people simultaneously seek care. While current planning guidance to reduce surge on hospitals and other medical facilities during a pandemic largely focuses on improving the ‘‘supply’’ of medical care services, attention on reducing ‘‘demand’’ for such services is needed by better matching patient needs with alternative types and sites of care.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), ), the Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), and the United Way Worldwide/2-1-1 , and other partners, launched an effort to explore the acceptability and feasibility of using a coordinated network of triage telephone lines during a pandemic. These triage lines will serve to assess the health status of callers, help callers determine the most appropriate site for care (e.g., hospital ED, outpatient, home), provide clinical advice, and provide access to antiviral medications for ill people, if appropriate. As part of this effort, the integration and coordination of poison control centers (PCCs), existing nurse advice lines, 2-1-1 information lines, and other hotlines are being explored.  During 2014 – 2015, the CDC launched a pilot project to build system readiness. Utilizing a network of triage lines may be an important tool for reducing medical surge during a severe pandemic.