The University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) has launched a groundbreaking mobile app to screen large groups of individuals who are concerned that they may have COVID-19 and to help first responders and other health care providers determine a person’s likelihood of carrying the disease.
UNMC worked in concert with Apple and with assistance from students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) to fast-track development, repeatedly test and now distribute the app, which can be downloaded on the App Store.
1-Check COVID was created using Apple’s ResearchKit and CareKit frameworks alongside UNMC medical and public health experts, who developed the appropriate clinical algorithms. The UNMC team was assisted by UNO’s Harnoor Singh, director of student development for the Scott Scholars Program, as well as a small group of UNO students in the Scott Scholars program.
1-Check COVID is a user-friendly app that enables people to answer a series of questions and assess their likelihood of having COVID-19. Based on the user’s input, the screening app will issue a “low-risk,” “urgent risk” or “emergent risk” assessment and guide the individual toward possible next steps specific to their needs. The steps range from continued monitoring of symptoms, contacting one’s health care clinic or public health department to determine whether testing is needed, or going to the nearest emergency facility and/or calling “911.” The app also helps the user, if they wish, to share their COVID current risk profile with their health care professionals, employers, families and others.
“This will hopefully be lifesaving,” said UNMC and UNO Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D. “The screening app is an important contribution to help our Nebraska communities and beyond navigate important symptoms of the coronavirus. 1-Check COVID will help reassure the worried well, assist public safety teams responding to concerns and guide individuals who may have symptoms but are unsure what to do or how to share their concerns with others.”
“Everyone’s situation is unique,” said Rod Markin, M.D., Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for business development and director of UNeTech, who helped mature the project. “This tool will enable individuals to screen themselves based on their symptoms and decide if they’re experiencing situational anxiety or need to call their doctor’s office or something in-between.”
Broad distribution of the app will help guide the nation’s response and manage information for wide-scale lab testing, said James Lawler, M.D., of the Global Center for Health Security at UNMC. “It’s a tool to alleviate concerns, provide reasonable guidance and provide important information based on regional data.”
Although not a diagnostic tool, 1-Check COVID will provide appropriate advice based on the user’s symptoms, recent travel, geographic region (based on the ZIP code) and medical history. Developers say the screening app will enable individuals to make thoughtful decisions about when, or if, they should seek medical attention and allow them to immediately share the results only if they so choose.