Illinois Health Department Teams with WebMD to Enhance Public Health Alert System

First Medscape Alert on declining flu numbers issued today

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–February 13, 2013. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced that it has teamed with Medscape from WebMD, the leading source of information for health care professionals, to communicate urgent public health messages to healthcare providers in Illinois. The first health alert – on declining influenza hospital admissions – was issued to healthcare providers today.

“This partnership with WebMD complements our Health Alert Network (HAN) system and will enhance our existing efforts to ensure that we’re reaching healthcare providers in Illinois through the prompt delivery of urgent public health alerts when needed,” said IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “Through this partnership we can send alerts to the more than 40,000 additional registered health care providers statewide.”

Currently, IDPH delivers critical health information through health alerts, advisories and social media updates to local health departments, hospitals, health care providers and other public health partners as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national HAN system.

Medscape distributed Illinois’ first alert today, informing its network of registered clinical members via email that the state’s severe flu season—which has seen 608 ICU hospitalizations and 84 deaths through the first week of February—is waning. For the week ending February 2nd, there was an 87 percent decline in ICU hospitalizations compared to peak admissions at the beginning of January. The alert also urged providers to continue encouraging the public to get a flu shot.

“Medscape can quickly disseminate critical health information to healthcare providers on both a state and local level,” said Robert Marotta, Senior Vice President & Chief Regulatory Counsel of WebMD. “As the leading source of health information and news for healthcare professionals, Medscape will support the Illinois Department of Public Health in its efforts to efficiently communicate the latest health news to its network of healthcare providers.”