While science has yet to find a way to stop the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, technology is doing its part to minimize contagion, thanks to software that can help identify possible patients, inform those who may have been in contact with such individuals, and even help communities identify which areas have an increasing or decreasing infection rate.
Putting their free time to good use are Masters of Science in Innovation and Business students of the Asian Institute of Management, who have developed ENDCoV, a free mobile application that could accurately identify people who need to be tested for COVID-19, and therefore help medical institutions maximize their limited resources.
“Our team observed that it is important for people to access accurate and up-to-date information on their personal health, for them to feel more secure amid the pandemic,” says Charles de Belen, cofounder of ENDCoV.
The diverse development team is made up of doctors, health professionals, government employees, advertising executives, a hospital administrator, and a soldier, says Stephanie Lucena, the group’s public relations manager, and they are supported by a group of volunteer software developers.
It’s their differences, she says, that have helped them efficiently create ENDCoV. Lucena says that what separates their app from others offering a similar service is its “intelligent four-part system,” which consists of an e-triage, an automated action suggestion, a contact tracing journal, and an anonymous user notification.
Step one of ENDCoV is the contact tracing journal, which helps users create a history of locations they visited and people they were in contact with for the past two weeks. Users who have already tested positive for COVID-19 may use the app to anonymously alert all those they’ve been in contact with, using the anonymous user notification. Everyone who receives a notification will then be advised to take the e-triage feature to determine their status.
The e-triage is a self-assessment survey which potential patients are advised to take. It follows the Department of Health (DOH)-validated algorithm medical practitioners use for triage of people possibly infected with COVID-19.
Based on one’s survey results, the app suggests any one of these courses of action: Perform home quarantine, seek consultation, or go for testing.As of April 13, ENDCoV, which can now be downloaded on Android devices through the Google Play store (the iOS launch is happening soon, too), has almost 6,000 users, Lucena says. While the group is still in talks with the DOH about a possible collaboration, they are already working with a few local government units (LGUs), schools and nongovernmental organizations that are looking to protect their constituents from the virus.
“During the DOH’s implementation of mass testing, we aim to help our front-liners expedite the process by ensuring that patients (probable and suspect) have gone through the triage and that we have their contacts kept on record,” Lucena says.
The team is looking to add more functions after the app launches, such as heat maps that show high-risk areas to avoid.
Heat maps are a specialty of another contact-tracing tool: StaySafe.ph. Like ENDCoV, the emergency response website, developed by local software solutions company Multisys Technologies Corp., is community-driven. Upon registration, site visitors can report the state of their health, as well as their respective family members’, by identifying which COVID-19 symptoms they are experiencing—without having to disclose sensitive information. They are only asked to provide their nickname, age and gender (for analytics purposes), and the city they currently live in. Based on their status, they will then be classified as individuals with good health, experiencing mild symptoms, or with severe condition.
These reports will then be added to the website’s heatmapping dashboard function, which will display the severity of COVID-19 infection per location.
The site is meant to LGUs and private companies manage the safety of their constituents and employees, respectively, and track the effectivity of health measures being imposed to minimize contagion.
“StaySafe.ph is intended to help mitigate risks especially in vulnerable areas, as authorities will have real-time alerts and easy monitoring of critical situations in their respective communities. During this difficult time, quick response is crucial, which is why we helped develop this app,” says Multisys founder and CEO David Almirol Jr.
“StaySafe.ph is a product of our people’s inspiring bayanihan spirit and extensive experience in big data management,” Almirol says.
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