The online self-screening tool helps Virginians track and monitor symptoms of the coronavirus.
On Friday, May 22, Virginia announced the launch of COVIDCheck, an AI-powered digital tool for tracking, monitoring, and mitigating the coronavirus outbreak in the state. The COVID-19 symptom checker, called COVIDCheck, is a new online risk-assessment tool where individuals can check their symptoms, assess risk factors, and connect with testing or other resources when they exhibit symptoms.
"COVIDCheck is a free, web-based, artificial intelligence-powered telehealth tool that can help individuals displaying symptoms associated with COVID-19 self-assess their risk and determine the best next steps, such as self-isolation, seeing a doctor, or seeking emergency care," the Virginia Office of the Governor announced in a press release.
COVIDCheck asks users a series of questions about symptoms, screens for medical and occupational risk factors (if your job increases your risk of exposure to COVID-19), and triages patients on one of five care levels set by the Virginia Department of Health. After reporting symptoms, the tool recommends if, when, and how you should seek out care, and requests permission to follow up with you in three days to see how you're doing.
Courtesy of CovidCheck/Virginia Department of Health
The tool was developed by Harvard Innovation Labs' Buoy Health through a partnership of data scientists and medical professionals. Visitors to Buoy's website are greeted by a pop-up with three prompts to check symptoms in Virginia, in Massachusetts, or "all other states."
"Because COVID-19 can affect people differently and cause illness ranging from mild to severe, this personalized assessment tool can help people sort through symptoms and decide if they need to seek medical care,” Virginia health commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver said in a press release on Friday. He continued to stress that the tool is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
Most of the Commonwealth of Virginia, with the exception of 13 Northern Virginia counties, Accomack County, and the City of Richmond entered Phase One of "reopening" last Friday, May 22. The digital tool is part of the state's multipronged approach to combat the spread of COVID-19, including increased testing capacity, contact tracing, bulking up supplies of medical equipment, and monitoring symptoms among the population.
As the coronavirus outbreak continues to transform society, regional, state, and national governments are responding with our modern era's greatest asset—technology. While our increasingly globalized world presents new challenges when faced with a pandemic, we're also uniquely historically equipped to respond rapidly, ruthlessly, and on a large scale to coordinate a response to an unprecedented societal threat.
Partnerships with the tech sector are helping the medical field and local governments track and contain the spread of the virus in unique ways. Existing tools, such as a COVID-19 symptom survey tool launched by Johns Hopkins, have discovered that algorithms can predict and trace patterns in the outbreak with high levels of accuracy.