Kinsa encourages parents to share children’s symptom data to track illnesses at schools

Kinsa, a digital health company that developed an FDA approved thermometer for smartphones, has added a way to track illnesses and symptoms for schools through a population health component. The goal is to help track and stop the spread of illnesses. Kinsa Groups creates health profiles for schools. It is designed to help parents share […]

Kinsa, a digital health company that developed an FDA approved thermometer for smartphones, has added a way to track illnesses and symptoms for schools through a population health component. The goal is to help track and stop the spread of illnesses.

Kinsa Groups creates health profiles for schools. It is designed to help parents share symptom data about their children anonymously. Parents can share symptom information through the app or their child temperature through the thermometer. They can also use icons symbolizing symptoms such as for chills, diarrhea or a runny nose.

The profiles will show how many children at the school are sick and what symptoms are around the community, such as a sore throat or flu. Given the current concerns over vaccinations, signs of chicken pox or measles are likely to be a high priority for parents.

The information is intended to help parents make choices about when to take their children for a doctor’s visit. Kinsa CEO and founder Inder Singh said that it may eventually share the data with public health groups.

“We may eventually share the aggregated anonymized (no personal information) trends on whether illness is spreading and in which geographies with public health agencies like the CDC and others.”

He added that the new feature also underscores its mission to help communities detect and respond to spreading illness earlier. Referring to its beta tests, Singh said alerts like area children coming down with strep throat prompted parents to go to a doctor faster to get throat cultures.

The interest in sharing data about local outbreaks of illnesses such as flu has led a few health IT companies to develop apps to make it easier to do. HealthMap, an initiative launched at Boston Children’s, is collaborating with companies and groups to monitor illnesses. It’s working with Yelp to track foodborne illnesses. In a pilot with UberHealth, it used Uber cars to help nurses deliver flu vaccines to individuals at work and at home in New York City. It also adopted and updated Google’s Flu Vaccine Finder to help individuals locate places to get an appropriate vaccine near them.