Strep Throat Risk Tool May Reduce Unnecessary Doctor Visits

According to a new paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a new risk measure called a “home score” may save a patient with strep throat symptoms a visit to the doctor. The score combines patients' symptoms and demographic information with data on local strep throat activity to estimate their risk.

RELATED: Infectious Diseases Resource Center

The “home score” is calculated using a patients' symptoms (eg, presence or absence of fever and/or cough), and age. 

Also included is a statistic to capture the recent strep incidence in the patient's geographic area, which was developed by Mandl and Fine, of Boston Children's Division of Emergency Medicine and Informatics Program

A low “home score” indicates a low risk of a patient having an active strep infection and thus a doctor's visit may not be warranted.

The home score was developed using aggregated patient visit data provided by MinuteClinic, a CVS Caremark's retail health clinic. It has been suggested that the broad use of the score could eliminate 230,000 unnecessary doctor visits annually for strep throat.

The project was supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  and the National Library of Medicine.

For more information call (617) 730-0152 or visit the Boston Children's Informatics Program page.

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