Emory Expands Existing Tech to Build COVID Symptom Checker
Feeling feverish? Wondering if it’s coronavirus? Visit www.c19check.com, a free online symptom checker that can help anyone assess the likelihood they’ve contracted COVID-19.
“We’re all fighting, in ways big and small, to keep our loved ones out of harm’s reach. But the anxiety and uncertainty around the best way to do that can result in crowded emergency departments that will have difficulty managing the surge,” said Dr. Justin Schrager, emergency medicine physician at Emory University Hospital and co-founder of Vital. “Our goal with C19check.com is to prevent that from happening, while also making it super simple for people to understand and follow CDC guidelines.”

Based on the answers to questions about signs and symptoms, age and more, a person is directed to guidance based on CDC guidelines and is placed into one of three risk categories: high (needs immediate medical attention), intermediate (can contact their doctor for guidance), or low (can likely administer self-care or recover at home). Participants are never dissuaded from seeking professional medical advice or contacting their healthcare provider for more guidance.

Emory Department of Emergency Medicine’s Health DesignED Center physicians, including Chair Dr. David Wright and Dr. Anna Quay Yaffee, assistant professor and director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine Section at Emory University School of Medicine; and Emory Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response’s Dr. Alex Isakov, executive director and co-author of the SORT algorithm guided Vital, a software company focused on emergency department workflow, in designing the site and further developing SORT, an existing Emory technology originally designed for the H1N1 outbreak in 2009. The site is for educational purposes and not a replacement for a healthcare provider evaluation. Emory is working with its faculty and partners for options to deploy the tool to other parts of the world, even where mobile internet is lacking.

The ongoing relationship required substantial input from Emory’s Tech Transfer office to help address concerns of deploying university technology through Vital during the pandemic, including the use of the Emory trademarks and collection of individual’s data.

Emory’s OTT negotiated and executed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement between Emory, USUHS, and Vital to develop and validate the technology and launch the Emory-Vital cobranded website. Vital is not charging the public for use of the symptom checker. Users can opt to share a zip code to contribute to research tracking the geographic spread and eventual recovery from the pandemic.

“Through this partnership, Emory and its academic colleagues also gain access to valuable epidemiological data that come from the public use of the website,” said John Nicosia, a Licensing Associate for Emory’s OTT. “Emory is currently partnering with Vital to have this technology deployed for use by individual state-level governments and health departments and for any commercial entity wishing to deploy the symptom checker to their employees.”

Vital was founded by Schrager and Aaron Patzer, founder of Mint.com, and launched in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, to help offset the already overloaded work of Emergency Departments.

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