New app tracks flu, other sicknesses by ZIP code

DENVER -- A mobile app and website called Doctors Report Illness Tracker shows users how prevalent a sickness is in a certain ZIP code.

It tracks 15 illnesses with information from the past week. That information comes from diagnosis codes used at nearly 1 million doctors’ offices across the country.

The information then allows users to manage their family’s exposure. The app shows a map and information can be broken down by age group and illness.

“I think it could be very helpful for people who are at high risk of complications from specifically the flu, so if you are older than 65, if you are under 5, or if you have and chronic medical condition,” said Dr. Kristin Woodward, a pediatric anesthesiologist in the Denver metro.

She said it could also be helpful for new mothers planning to travel with a newborn.

Woodward has two healthy boys of her own, ages 9 and 13, and said the information would not change her family’s day-to day-plans. But certain information would force another important conversation.

“I think what’s really important is telling your kids to always wash their hands really well, and try not to touch their face,” Woodward said.

The website and app are available as a free download via the App Store, Google Play and Amazon and on the company's website.