Coronavirus symptom checker: iPhone and Android app promises to check your health remotely

Coronavirus symptom checker: iPhone and Android app promises to check your health remotely

If you’re worried about a change in your health, Babylon Health has unveiled a new interactive symptom checker designed to help advise those who suspect they might have contracted the potentially fatal virus. The digital care assistant can be used to check symptoms at all times of day, as well as track illness, cope with self-isolation and maintain communication with healthcare professionals.

Babylon Health, whose GP At Hand smartphone app is already being piloted in the NHS, has designed the new COVID-19 service to deliver “appropriate information and care for each individual according to their need, allocating doctors’ time to the patients who need it most”.

If that sounds at all familiar, Microsoft has designed a new chatbot in collaboration with Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which asks users a series of questions based on CDC guidelines and suggests next steps you should take, like whether to self-isolate, consult a medical professional, or visit the emergency services.

Babylon Health predicts as much as 20 percent of all UK healthcare workers could be self-isolating or suffering with the illness at the peak of the pandemic in the UK. As such, it believes that alternative ways to connect patients and doctors should be deployed – like its “digital care assistant” and symptom checker.

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“COVID-19 is the biggest public health threat to our communities for nearly a century and Babylon has a huge obligation to help,” said Babylon CEO Ali Parsa in a statement about the launch of the COVID-19 care assistant. “The combination of our technology and clinical service allows our doctors and nurses to use their time for the most suited tasks, whilst amplifying their expertise for the benefit of all our patients.”

The virtual care assistant provides guidance in six steps. First up, the service, which is available on the Apple App Store and Google Plays Store, offers up the latest heath advice and general information on the outbreak and Government guidance on self-isolation and caring for others.

There’s also a symptom checker to see if the changes in your own health could be linked to the COVID-19 virus. If that’s not enough, there is a live chat feature to connect users with a Babylon team member for additional advice.

The app also offers the ability to log symptoms each day to see how your health changes over time. As you log symptoms, the app will offer guidance on managing them, moving on to virtual consultations for those who need them and referral to hospital care when needed.

According to Babylon, the app will be available to all UK patients over the coming days, and “many others soon after.” Given the scale of the launch, it makes sense that Babylon would want to stagger the roll out of a feature that’s likely to be in serious demand.

The app is free to download. Using the service is free in Birmingham and London through the NHS. However, users located elsewhere will have to sign up for pay-as-you-go or annual subscriptions to the service. Annual plans start from £149. One-off consultations can cost as much as £49 each time.

Published at Tue, 24 Mar 2020 07:01:00 +0000