Is It Contagious? A Health App Targets Kids Health

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

First posted 8/15/11 on Health Populi

‘Tis the season for pink eye, strep throat, head lice, walking pneumonia, and that unpronounceable malady, Molluscum Contagiosum (a viral skin rash). Back-to-school time means time for parents to brace for their kids passing infectious diseases to each other.

It’s timely, then, for the launch of Is It Contagious?, a free mobile health app developed by The Nemours Foundation. Nemours is the pediatric health system with locations in Delaware, Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Originally funded with a legacy from Alfred I. duPont’s will in 1936, the institution carries on Alfred’s vision that, “it is the duty of everyone in the world to do what is within his power to alleviate human suffering.”

Since 1992 — for nearly two decades now — the Nemours Center for Children’s Health Media, aka KidsHealth, has been a pioneering developer of web-based information for parents and kids. offers portals for parents and children. This is one of the few Internet destinations with information especially created for health consumer segments of kids and teens.

Offering a mobile health app, then, is a natural outgrowth of the organization’s work in new media. Is It Contagious? offers quick access, on-the-go, to information on over 85 infections and other childhood conditions. The app was developed by the pediatricians at the Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.

Among the “Most Wired” hospitals in the U.S. named by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine in July 2011, Nemours received HIMSS’s Davies Award of Excellence for high use of health IT earlier this year.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: These days, I’m pondering the primary care shortage/maldistribution and new platforms and prospects for extending primary care outside of the doctor’s office. In a conversation on this topic yesterday with Tom Charland of Merchant Medicine, he mentioned that it’s busy Moms that select the use of urgent care centers in the busy infectious season of pink eye, et. al., when pediatricians’ offices are very busy. He noted that, “moms are good at self diagnosing their kids.”

I wrote earlier this year about the Mobile Mom Report from BabyCenter. Mom is the Chief Medical Office of her household. She’s also mobile. I wrote, “Health is mobile, and health care is local. The So-Lo-Mo phenomenon plays beautifully into the world of moms, who are their families’ Chief Household Officers. Mothers have been the key determinants of health and health care consumption in their households, and mobile gives them the platform that makes their health decisions more efficient and even engaging.”

Nemours’ Is It Contagious? app will be a valuable addition to Moms’ mobile health app armamentarium. It’s already on my iPhone.

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn is a health economist and social media expert writing at Health Populi.

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