If statistics on this year's flu season hold, the U.S. may be in for a rather difficult winter. Athenaresearch, the data analysis arm of cloud-based EHR vendor athenahealth, has been tracking early season reports of flu-like illnesses, analyzing approximately 1 million patient visits per week to the 20,000 providers using the platform.

Overall, the percentage of visits related to influenza-like illnesses (ILI) stood at about 1 percent for the week ending Nov. 22, but in certain regions of the country—and among pediatric patients—the percentages were higher and the trends spiked at rates well above the 2013-14 figures for flu. The percent of visits to pediatricians with a diagnosis of ILI increased from 2.8 percent to 3.5 percent in one week's span, according to Iyue Sung, director of athenaresearch.

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