The drug chain said it has launched the first weekly Walgreens Flu Index for the 2015-16 season. The index ranks the top markets and states across the United States where flu activity is most prevalent each week, and it now also offers the ability to search by location.
According to Walgreens, the new functionality was developed to provide state- and market-specific information for “anyone, anywhere, anytime” to drive consumer awareness and prevention and to help every community better understand when the number of flu cases may be rising.
“With the ability to provide actionable information in a quick and timely manner, and leveraging prescription data that can be a telling indicator of activity, we’re empowering everyone to be informed about flu in their community,” Richard Ashworth, president of pharmacy and retail operations at Walgreens, said in a statement. “The Flu Index has become a powerful and credible tool that has garnered national attention, while also helping health officials at the most local level to keep their communities healthy throughout the season.”
The top 10 market areas for flu activity for the week ending Nov. 29 were Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, Texas; Jackson, Miss.; Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Oklahoma City; Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, N.C.; Tyler-Longview, Texas; El Paso, Texas; Houston; and Lexington, Ky.
During that period, the top 10 states for flu activity were Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Hawaii, Florida and Arkansas.
The Walgreens Flu Index is compiled using the chain’s weekly retail prescription data for antiviral medications used to treat influenza across its locations nationwide. The index lists the top markets and states for flu activity plus those experiencing the greatest gains on a week-over-week basis.
Walgreens said data for the index are analyzed at state and geographic market levels to measure absolute impact and incremental change of antiviral medications on a per-store average basis and don’t include markets where the retailer has fewer than 10 stores. The company noted that the index is intended to show which populations are experiencing the highest incidences of influenza within the nation each week.