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Emergency Preparedness

Coronavirus App to Provide At-Home Risk Assessment


Researchers at Augusta University are creating an app that will allow users to assess their COVID-19 infection risk at home in minutes, based on how they feel and where they've been. The app will direct at-risk individuals to the nearest testing facility, and provide local and public health officials with real-time data on the demographics of those most in need of prevention and treatment initiatives.

"We wanted to help identify people who are at high risk for coronavirus, help expedite their access to screening and to medical care and reduce spread of this infectious disease," explained Arni S.R. Srinivasa Rao, director of the Laboratory for Theory and Mathematical Modeling in Augusta's Medical College of Georgia (MCG) Division of Infectious Diseases, in a statement. Rao and Jose Vazquez, chief of the MCG Division of Infectious Diseases, are working with developers to finalize the app within a few weeks.

The app will ask users for a variety of information:

  • Where they live;
  • Demographics like gender, age and race;
  • Recent contact with any individuals who are known to have coronavirus or who have traveled to hotspots like Italy and China; and
  • Whether they've experienced common symptoms of infection (fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, sputum production, headache, diarrhea and pneumonia) and their duration.

An artificial intelligence-powered algorithm will then asses the user's information and assign a risk level: no risk, minimal risk, moderate risk or high risk. It will also alert the nearest facility with testing ability when it determines a health check is needed.

In addition, the collective information gathered by the app will provide researchers with data on where the virus is circulating as well as help them learn more about how it is spreading.

Rao and Vazquez have published a paper on their project in the in the journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology. They plan to make the app available for free on the Augusta University website as well as through the Apple and Android app stores.


About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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