KARACHI: Self-screening for the coronavirus continues to be a public health priority in every country around the world. To support government efforts to reduce the spread of the disease, the Aga Khan University and Hospital have launched CoronaCheck, a new mobile app that enables Pakistanis to easily and safely evaluate symptoms with an in-home screening tool and understand the next steps to looking after themselves.
The app uses an interactive chatbot, driven by Artificial Intelligence, which allows users to understand their symptoms, recognise whether they may have contracted COVID-19 and seek help in a timely manner. It also aims to identify potential coronavirus carriers, limit their risk of transmission and to list the national helplines available.
By reducing the need for patients to visit hospitals for screening, the app will also contribute to reducing the burden on the healthcare system and ensure care for those most in need. CoronaCheck has been jointly developed by the University Hospital, whose clinical faculty advised on the development of the screening algorithm, and AKU’s Technology Innovation Support Centre, TISC, which provided the technological expertise for the app.
“The coronavirus has placed the country’s healthcare system under tremendous strain with frontline healthcare professionals already working around the clock,” said Saleem Sayani, director of AKU’s TISC. “Through this app, we hope to share useful tips that can prevent new cases and provide reassurance to worried citizens during a time of widespread concern.”
The tool has been adopted from the Alberta Health Services and modified to meet the local context and the evolving epidemiology of the disease.
CoronaCheck also seeks to tackle myths and misconceptions by featuring educational videos in Urdu, to combat the increasing amount of unverified information circulating on social media platforms. It also includes authentic information on best practices to protect oneself from infection, advice on self-assessment, and precautions and guidance on physical distancing recommended by World Health Organization and national health ministries. CoronaCheck can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
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