The University of Melbourne

An app to help reduce hospitalisations during a pandemic

CovidCare is a collaboration between DEPT®, leading health industry experts, and the University of Melbourne. With a goal of addressing high hospitalisation rates and an overwhelmed healthcare system, we quickly got to work in developing the technology.

Alleviating stress on the healthcare system

In March 2020, it became clear that the Covid-19 pandemic would overwhelm healthcare systems around the globe. The sheer number of patients would outnumber available beds, and hospital staff would struggle to keep up with the influx. Yet most people who caught the disease don’t actually require hospitalisation. 

Our Melbourne team began to wonder what if we could limit the amount of unnecessary foot traffic into hospitals and alleviate stress on the healthcare system? And how can we help patients in the process? We knew our technical experience and professional network could have a very real impact. After planning with a select group of clinicians, we set out to build CovidCare.

Supporting front-line staff by reducing hospital admissions

CovidCare helps people make informed decisions about when to seek medical attention.

It educates people about common signs of Covid-19 and lets users track their own symptoms directly in the app. As a patient periodically updates their symptoms, CovidCare can recognise trends and offer appropriate guidance. For the mildly symptomatic, the app provides support during self-isolation. If symptoms worsen, the patient is advised to see a doctor. If a person’s case requires medical attention but isn’t considered an emergency, they’ll be diverted away from the hospital and towards a Covid clinic, which could alleviate stress on emergency rooms.

Monitoring symptoms and increasing access to information

Under extreme time pressures, we worked on a platform that performed critical medical self-assessments for users to monitor their physical and mental wellbeing. Ensuring users of the application performed the medical tests correctly (single breath count, heart rate count, etc.), we crafted a self-check flow that captured all the necessary information in the clearest and easiest way possible. 

A dashboard was provided to users that helped provide insight on their condition and results over time. A critical element was the push notification system that sent timely reminders and updates to users for follow-ups.

The platform adheres to strict health data requirements, ensuring privacy and security for users. It also integrates seamlessly into medical systems via the FHIR specification. The app’s self-check flow and push notification system have contributed to its success in providing critical medical self-assessments for users.

Deployed into clinics in just two weeks

With the pandemic looming and no time to spare, CovidCare was quickly assembled and launched into formal clinical trials around Australia. 

CovidCare made a significant impact in helping individuals make informed decisions about seeking medical attention during the pandemic. It offered a sense of control and confidence to users and eases the strain on hospitals. 

Once in the hands of patients, it became apparent that CovidCare provides a much-needed sense of control to those who are confronted with the uncertainty of a Covid diagnosis. CovidCare gives them the power to confidently seek the right level of care—a benefit that can also ease the pressure on overburdened hospitals.

Questions?

SVP of Growth APAC & Head of Australia

Evan Davey

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