This study aims at Influenza remains a global health care burden. The average estimated cost of seasonal influenza in the United States is $11.2 billion annually.1 Influenza infection can lead to severe morbidity and mortality among all patients, but the very young, the elderly, pregnant women, and persons with underlying disease are at higher risk. The efficacy of vaccination, our main defense against influenza, is variable and suboptimal. During influenza season, outpatient and emergency department visits increase as patients seek care. In symptomatic patients, a rapid and accurate influenza diagnosis can improve management.2, 3

Delayed influenza diagnosis in the ED can adversely impact patient management. Hospital admission may be delayed while awaiting test information for bed assignment. Appropriate infection prevention measures are needed to reduce hospital-acquired (HA) influenza infections, a significant contributor to patient morbidity/mortality and healthcare costs.4, 5 Additionally, longer boarding times in the ED can lead to higher mortality and longer hospital length of stay (LOS).6 Furthermore, delays in diagnosis can delay initiation of antiviral therapy beyond the recommended 48 hours after symptom onset. Finally, for non-admitted patients, lack of influenza test results before ED discharge can contribute to unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.

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