Influenza is an important public health concern. We propose a new real-time influenza-like illness (ILI) surveillance system that utilizes a nationwide prospective drug utilization monitoring in Korea. We defined ILI-related claims as outpatient claims that contain both antipyretic and antitussive agents and calculated the weekly rate of ILI-related claims, which was compared to weekly ILI rates from clinical sentinel surveillance data during 2014–2018. We performed a cross-correlation analysis using Pearson’s correlation, time-series analysis to explore actual correlations after removing any dubious correlations due to underlying non-stationarity in both data sets. We used the moving epidemic method (MEM) to estimate an absolute threshold to designate potential influenza epidemics for the weeks with incidence rates above the threshold. We observed a strong correlation between the two surveillance systems each season. The absolute thresholds for the 4-years were 84.64 and 86.19 cases per 1000claims for claims data and 12.27 and 16.82 per 1000 patients for sentinel data. The epidemic patterns were more similar in the 2016–2017 and 2017–2018 seasons than the 2014–2015 and 2015–2016 seasons. ILI claims data can be loaded to a drug utilization review system in Korea to make an influenza surveillance system.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding was provided by National Research Foundation of Korea (Grant no. 2019R1A2C1003259) and National Evidence-based Healthcare Collaborating Agency (Grant no. HC20C0010).
© 2021, The Author(s).
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