Harvard Health Publications Launches H1N1 Flu iPhone Application

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Application provides critical information on the H1N1 "swine flu" pandemic.

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Flu epidemics are hard to predict. Any estimates may be too optimistic or too pessimistic. However, we could be facing the most serious pandemic in a generation.

The Harvard Health Publications Division of Harvard Medical School has launched an iPhone application focused on the H1N1 flu pandemic. The H1N1 iPhone application draws on the extensive knowledge of the experts at Harvard Medical School along with its long-standing expertise in publishing health information for the general public. The school's goal is to provide the public with the best available information on public health-related issues, including practical advice on how to reduce risks and how to respond in the event of a public health threat.

According to Harvard Health Publications Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Anthony L. Komaroff, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, "people are increasingly receiving information through mobile devices which are always with us to give us answers--anytime, anywhere. People who have a question about their health want an answer now."

Since the first outbreak of the H1N1 flu earlier this year there have been over 180,000 cases of infection globally according to the World Health Organization and the White House has called 160 million infections, with 90,000 deaths this winter a plausible scenario for the U.S. Dr. Komaroff noted, "Flu epidemics are hard to predict. Any estimates may be too optimistic or too pessimistic. However, we could be facing the most serious pandemic in a generation."

The H1N1 flu iPhone application includes science-based information on the state of the pandemic's spread; practical steps people can take to mitigate their risk of infection; key symptoms to watch for; and how to act in case of a suspected infection. The application includes video content as well as text, animated illustrations, and links to government databases. In addition, the application provides businesses with specific information on how to best prepare their enterprises for managing through the pandemic, developed in collaboration with Harvard Business School Publishing.

The H1N1 iPhone application is the first of a series of such applications that will be part of HMSMobile, which was developed in cooperation with The Imagine Network as a strategic partner. HMSMobile represents the commitment of Harvard Medical School's doctors and scientists to provide people with knowledge and skills that will improve their health. Over time HMSMobile plans to expand its offerings to include content for additional platforms beyond the iPhone series, as different mobile devices add functionality that allows for similar integration.

About Harvard Medical School and Harvard Health Publications:

Harvard University established the medical school in 1782. The mission of Harvard Medical School is to create and nurture a diverse community of the best people committed to leadership in ending human suffering caused by disease. It encompasses 17 affiliated hospitals and research institutions. Each year, more than 10,000 faculty members train hundreds of medical students and thousands of resident physicians and research fellows. Harvard doctors have developed a broad range of medical breakthroughs, scientific discoveries and innovations for which they have received numerous awards, including 15 Nobel prizes. Harvard Health Publications is a division of Harvard Medical School responsible for creating information about health and medicine for the general public--newsletters, special health reports, books, magazine articles, newspaper columns, and information for Web sites (http://www.health.harvard.edu).

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