At QuantaSTAT we were inspired to create a self-reporting application, and buckled down the first weekend of March to deliver a website to the world that would enable people to share their health status, as a means of getting ahead of the spread of COVID-19. Within a week we had participants from dozens of countries and even a representative of a European government ask if we could provide the application in their native language.
We received an outpouring of thanks from people who finally felt like there was something proactive they could do at a time when everything felt pretty hopeless. This inspired us to continue our pursuit and to provide a self-reporting system that can have immediate impact.
What it does
Our solution enables organizations to get back in action with confidence by mitigating the spread of COVID-19 through their populations by self-reporting, and exposure reduction. We decided to target NCAA athletic programs as our first adopters because 1) They have so much at stake, 2) They are role models for their entire student-body, 3) They are naturally in-tune with their bodies, and disciplined, 4) They are at high risk of infection.
They will complete a 30 second daily symptom report and either be cleared to attend practice and events, or benched until they receive a doctor’s health clearance. If they are benched the app will tell them to stay put at home and trigger a telemedicine appointment. The telemedicine provider may prescribe a self-administered test, which will enable the participant to continue to stay home and find out if they are positive for COVID-19. The test results will immediately update in the application, and either clear the participant for activities or provide continued medical support if the participant is positive.
This application invites participants to opt-in to share their health reports with public health and researchers, and can aid in contact tracing.
Our application encourages participation through gamification and socialization. Participants receive points for every check-in. The points can be redeemed for things valuable to their ecosystem, such as beverages, car washes, discounts at merchants, etc. Additionally, teams can form and compete against each other, inspiring friendly competition. Finally, there is a social feature built into the app where participants can encourage each other to participate and support any participants who are benched.
How we built it
We leveraged the QuantaSTAT HIPAA compliant platform, and configured it to capture the initial intake data, and daily self-reporting data. We included the QS barcode scanning feature as a means of automatically updating test results, and the QS wearables integration as a means of updating vitals and location in real time, in our overall project plan. We developed a triage algorithm that provides a digital triage based on the inputs and directs to next steps. This is a machine learning algorithm so that overtime the triage will be refined. We created wireframes to guide future development of the application, including the gamification and socialization features.
Challenges we ran into
As a newly formed team we had challenges finding a meeting time that would work for all participants. All teammates had limited bandwidth due to work and other obligations, as one would expect from such a high-functioning group.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud that we were able to deliver a functioning self-reporting application, in English and Spanish, that incorporates a machine learning algorithm providing digital triage, within the time limits of this hackathon.
What we learned
We performed research in four key areas: 1) Clinical research – we were lucky to have an RN from UCSF who works with the COVID-19 hotline team help us determine what were the critical health-data inputs for our survey and algorithm. 2) Epidemiological research – our team investigated what information would be most valuable to epidemiologists so that we were sure to address this information in our initial intake form and daily check-in form. 3) Users – our team developed an interview to gather information from different contacts in athletic departments including coaches, athletes, and directors. We met with representatives from swimming, track and field, football, and cycling to learn about the challenges they are current experiencing in regards to COVID-19 and how our app could provide them the most value and greatest adherence. 4) Engagement – we researched different gamification strategies, including avatar customization and incentives, social integration, and identified what features were likely to provide the most engagement. Beta testing will enable us to learn more and refine in all of these areas.
What's next for EpiWe
During the course of this hackathon we submitted our solution to the National Science Foundation to their Seed Fund program, and we also responded to a request for information form the National Institute of Health. We hope one or both of these agencies will financially support this project going forward.
QuantaSTAT is currently raising a Series-A round, which could facilitate the expeditious launch of this solution in time for the fall athletic season.