With this year’s flu season arriving a bit ahead of schedule, and sporting some frightening statistics about its more severe symptoms and accelerated spread, health data company Evidation has come out with a new monitoring program to track potential and existing cases of the infection. The machine learning-oriented FluSmart program will notify users of early fluctuations in their day-to-day activity level, providing a heads up about a possible oncoming influenza episode so individuals can engage counteractive measures, adjust their sick-leave schedules, and avoid unnecessary contact with others. FluSmart will operate through a combination of incorporations with data-collecting wearable devices as well as input from users on their self-reported symptoms.
“We have been studying and characterizing influenza-like illness using wearables since 2017, and FluSmart makes this expertise actionable for individuals,” said Evidation Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer Christine Lemke. Evidation’s eponymous app has seen just under 100,000 people sign up for the FluSmart program since its recent launch.
A marked decrease in activity level is a tell-tale sign of infection, particularly for the flu, and research backs up the slowdown associated with sickness. A pre-COVID-19 study assessing the minute-to-minute step-tracker data of over 15,000 people reporting flu-like symptoms found that they lost an average total of 4,437 steps in the period of time they reported symptoms. Scaling that to cover the entire U.S. during the long haul of flu season makes the lethargy equivalent to 15% of the active population in the nation becoming immobilized for 24 hours.