09 Apr StayHome App Developed by UW CIRG
The University of Washington Clinical Informatics Research Group or CIRG is a team of university software developers and researchers who write software for clinical care, research, public health, and global health, and they are also people who mostly live in the Seattle area. During the first week of March in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when Seattle was being hit hard by it, the CIRG team asked a group of University of Washington students what mattered most to them about COVID-19.
They found out they had the same questions that the CIRG team had: Where can we find good information? Are we experiencing COVID-19 symptoms? Where can we find testing and care? How do we remember what symptoms we have experienced as the weeks progress? Should we stay at home to minimize the risk to ourselves and to “flatten the curve” in our communities?
How do we remember what symptoms we have experienced as the weeks progress? Should we stay at home to minimize the risk to ourselves and to “flatten the curve” in our communities?
Having previous experience working with public health agencies, the CIRG knew that the routine processes of those agencies gets stretched very thin in situations when the numbers of ill and worried people outweigh the available resources. But they also knew that in the middle of an outbreak there is no time for public health to switch to new, untested methods. The team concentrated on how to answer the questions people have had, and on creating a way for them to volunteer information, which may help public health authorities monitor the overall health of communities.
This way of gathering information could also help make existing processes for case investigation and identifying the contacts of infected people easier, while not upsetting the critical processes currently in place. “We care about our families, friends, and colleagues in our community, in our region, and across the world,” said Bill Lober, Professor in the Schools of Nursing, Medicine, and Public Health, “and as COVID-19 emerged, we thought we could help by applying our experience with public health surveillance, and patient-centered mobile health apps.”
We care about our families, friends, and colleagues in our community, in our region, and across the world, and as COVID-19 emerged, we thought we could help…
With this in mind, the CIRG team immediately began developing the StayHome app, and within two weeks had released StayHome for public use. StayHome is a mobile app which supports people who want reliable information and resources, and who want to track symptoms and temperature, record COVID-19 testing and results, record exposures or travel, and identify their unique situations and risks. StayHome can be used anonymously to access resources about COVID-19, or you can create an account to self-track.
If you include profile information, StayHome lets you choose if and how to share information with public health agencies responsible for your city/county, state, or country. An account is not needed to access information about COVID-19, but it is easy to create an account for those who want to start self-tracking. The app is free and anyone can use it. For more information or questions, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the StayHome App.