EHR data show this year's flu season similar to 2014-15's aggressive outbreak: 5 things to know

Proprietary data from DocuTAP's EMR, practice management and revenue cycle management software show this year's flu season is very similar to the 2014-15 season, where the virus was especially severe and its effects were long lasting, the company told Becker's Hospital Review.

DocuTAP reviewed urgent care data from the past four years during the flu season months of November through March. It then drew comparisons to the early statistics on this year's flu season.

Here are five things to know.

1. The percentage of flu visits at urgent care clinics in December reached 7 percent, compared to 6.7 percent of visits during the same month in 2013-14 and 8.6 percent of visits in 2014-15. 

2. The virus in the 2014-15 season was particularly strong, with seven weeks seeing more than 10 percent of urgent care visits involving a flu diagnosis. This equates to 4.3 flu diagnoses per day for urgent care clinics — up from an average of 1.3 diagnoses per day.

3. The percentage of urgent care visits in December over the past two years was under 2 percent.

4. The 2016-17 flu season was the least severe, lasting only five weeks. At its peak, clinics diagnosed 2.7 flu cases per day.

5. Earlier this week, public health officials said the 2017-18 flu season is becoming "moderately severe" and could get worse. The CDC noted widespread flu activity in 46 states, an indication that this year's flu season is "similar to what was seen at the peak of the 2014-15 season, which was the most severe season in recent years," said the CDC in its summary of last week's flu update.

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