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VA-tested triage for EverydayHealth

EverydayHealth's Symptom Checker, which debuted this morning, is at the heart of a program veterans have been using for a decade to get help fast over the phone.
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

EverydayHealth's Symptom Checker, which debuted this morning, is at the heart of a program veterans have been using for a decade to get help fast over the phone.

Created by DSHI Systems Inc. of Rockledge Florida, it's a decision support system trained operators use when veterans call the agency, which can help tell how severe symptoms are, where they should go first, and what people there will do.

The software underlying both the VA and EverydayHealth applications is called Triage Expert.

DSHI CEO Stephen Schueler (right) calls the new application a "return to our roots" in decision support for consumer markets. The EverydayHealth service is free, and DSHI earns licensing fees based partly on traffic.

"It's trying to triage people and give them information they can act on. If you have a cough and chest pains it will not give you a diagnosis, but it will show your risk of illness. It will say whether you should consider seeing a doctor, when you need to go, and the justification for the recommendation."

It can also help you navigate the system to receive the fastest, most efficient and cost effective care.

"Emergency rooms, doctors' offices and pharmacy-run clinics all have different capabilities. If your assessment is you might have meningitis that's not a drug store, that's an emergency room.

"We like to answer when do you need care, where do you need care, and what do you think might be wrong? A good way of thinking about it is by asking what are the things that the doctor will have to include or exclude" in their own diagnosis.

The software asks the questions a doctor would ask, gets the answers a doctor would be given, then helps you find the right place in the system for diagnosis and treatment.

The value is not just in the software, but its track record, Dr. Schueler added.

"What's interesting and different here is this has been going on for 10 years. It's had millions of interactions. And all the interactions generate a report that's reviewed by a doctor. That's saying a lot. This has been a wonderful opportunity for us to improve the product."

Give it a spin next time you or yours are feeling ill and let me know what you think.

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