A Pinoy-developed app that helps people assess whether they are at risk for COVID-19 is in the works
Everybody, listen to this: There is an app currently being developed by a team of Filipinos that aims to address (1) the shortage of COVID-19 testing kits and (2) the overcrowding in hospitals given the COVID-19 scare.
The FIGHTCOVID app is a locally developed app that aims to help Filipinos determine whether or not they should get tested for the COVID-19.
Developed by tech agency White Widget, FIGHTCOViD features a self-assessment survey that Pinoys can access for free online.
The survey is composed of three pages of questions, based on guidelines earlier released by the Department of Health, White Widget CEO Andrea Levinge told GMA News Online over a phone interview.
Questions are about their symptoms, exposure tracking, and age and comorbidity.
"We took the diagram that the DOH had been sharing and we interpreted it with a team of doctors who have been active front liners," Levinge said.
FIGHTCOVID was initially rolled out Tuesday.
https://t.co/JVi87GvGHF is a tool meant to reduce overcrowding in hospitals, clinics, and health centers. By accomplishing this self-assessment survey, you're doing your part in making sure high-priority patients get the care they need.— SAVE LIVES!! - Self Assessment for #COVID19 (@fightcovidapp) March 17, 2020
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Two hours later, however, White Widget decided to temporarily suspend operations as it was "coordinating with the Health Department in improving the survey."
"The DOH got in touch and sent us new diagrams. We are working on a new algorithm with them," said Levinge, adding there were always new findings on the virus.
She said that they hoped to have the app running again, once the beta version is approved by DOH. She added that the beta version will also be open for public testing.
In the interest of providing the best information our team of volunteers can provide, we're working with the DOH to make some adjustments. Until then we have to pause operations. We'll be back online soon! For now, continue to practice social distancing & wash your hands.— SAVE LIVES!! - Self Assessment for #COVID19 (@fightcovidapp) March 17, 2020
"Unfortunately, there are some logical inconsistencies in some of the questions in the [survey]. It's a software challenge. We're rewriting the whole algorithm right now as quickly as we can," Levinge said.
At the end of the app's survey, users are asked for their personal information in case they were classified to be a person under investigation (PUI).
"We were going to collect their contact details and give them to the DOH," Levinge said. She emphasized that the team endeavored to be careful with the information they gathered, as they have had experience working with sensitive data.
"We don't access the data. We only do it to check for bugs. That is the goal: to only have the DOH access it," she explained.
According to Levinge, the app is "completely self-funded" by the company, and hosting the app could be costly.
The White Widget executive added that while the team worked on the app, they had the mindset of "rapidly solving a problem for their client" — in this case, the Philippines.
Levinge shared building the app took all of 48 hours. "It started on a Sunday night. Everyone went into overdrive," she said, adding the entire team were moved by front liners who reached out to them, telling them stories of the volumes of patients who went to health centers to get themselves checked and tested.
What started as an idea on Sunday night, the team at @whitewidget worked together to organize health professionals and translators in order to pre-qualify those who need COVID testing and don't.— SAVE LIVES!! - Self Assessment for #COVID19 (@fightcovidapp) March 17, 2020
"We were inspired by the fact that we could help people. We were getting egged on by stories...It broke our hearts and we wanted to do something," she said.
The FIGHTCOVID app was created by doctors, workers from White Widget and a hundred translators from the Philippines on volunteer basis.
As of Wednesday night, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country climbed to 202, with a total of 17 deaths and 7 recoveries. — LA, GMA News