People & places

App to help people better understand impact of social distancing

April 8, 2020

Leading science-led consumer healthcare company Clinova has released the latest version of its healthcare app, Caidr, which allows users to report any COVID-19 symptoms, and provides an innovative way to manage social distancing following the UK Government’s recommendations of staying at least two meters away from other people at all times.

With many medical practices and centres shut due to the global pandemic, the app enables users to assess the severity of their illness or ailment and take the appropriate steps to recovery.

Going beyond individual personal health, the app also provides a way to monitor social distancing and ensure the continued health of others during this time.

Users indicate their risk level regarding COVID-19 infection using a traffic light system to indicate the following:

  • Green: ‘I’ve had Covid-19, but have now been well for two weeks.’ If users choose green, they may now have strong antibodies that protect them from catching the virus.
  • Yellow: ‘I’ve never had Covid-19 symptoms.’ If users choose yellow, the app will keep them a safe distance away from people who have symptoms. Because they may be carrying the virus without showing symptoms, the app will also help you stay a safe distance away from people in the high-risk group.
  • Red: ‘I’m in the high-risk group.’ If users choose red, the app will help protect them from infection. If someone who has symptoms is nearby, the app will let them know to move away. Even if the user is near someone who has not shown symptoms, the app will remind them not to put the user at risk.
  • Blue: ‘I have Covid-19 symptoms.’ Users should choose blue if they have ongoing symptoms or simply feel unwell. While testing is the best way to confirm an infection, some symptoms can speak for themselves. When users choose blue, the app will tell them when they’re near someone in the symptomless or high- risk groups.

After users have chosen the option that best applies to them, Caidr will send a notification to keep users, and those around them, safe during essential trips outside.

The app highlights the importance of following notifications with powerful statistics outlining the benefits of social distancing. If social interactions remain unchecked, the app highlights that over 30 days one person suffering from COVID-19 could infect 406 people. With a 75% percent reduction in exposing for infected people, as little as 2.5 people (on average) become infected.

Additionally, the app provides a checklist of important steps that can be taken to stop the spread of COVID-19, these including washing hands (for at least 20 seconds), wearing a mask when shopping for essentials, and of course, staying at home unless necessary.

Designed by practising doctors and pharmacists, alongside Clinova’s tech and AI teams, Caidr’s core algorithms ensure its users access the necessary information in as few steps as possible. For minor ailments, the app provides at-home treatment advice including appropriate self-care solutions.

Arsalan Karim, Director of Research and Development of Clinova, said:

“We believe Caidr is an absolutely essential tool in easing the pressure on the NHS. By researching minor health problems via our app, patients can save themselves – and the over-stretched NHS – valuable time. But, more importantly for right now, we know that if we reduce contact between at-risk people and others who may have symptom-free infections, we will help stop the spread of Covid-19. And we’ve built a tool to help us beat this outbreak together, one smart step at a time. Equally as important, at Caidr, we know how important people’s personal data is, so we will not share it with any external company. We will only use this data to enable us to send notifications that will help protect you and your fellow citizens.”

The NHS estimates that 57 million GP appointments and 3.7 million A&E visits each year are for self-treatable conditions. CAIDR follows the call from the Royal College of GPs for patients to consider other alternatives, including seeking assistance from a pharmacist, before visiting a GP.

Dr Tom Maggs, General Manager and practicing paediatrician, said:

“We are harnessing the digital technology central to all our lives to improve consumer health. Our app breaks down complex medical knowledge into a short series of simple questions that users can ask themselves to get the answers they need faster. In light of COVID-19, with many GP practices not open, this app is essential, allowing everyone vital access to medical support. Just as importantly, it will help users minimise the risk of infection in the first place. We are looking after ourselves and everyone around us by using Caidr. Social distancing may feel hard to do, but it’s also the best thing we can do. A few smart steps by each of us can protect hundreds of people. As we spend less time with our friends and family, remember that right now, a bit of space is the best way to show them you care. A healthy future is only a few smart steps away.”

Dr Tom Bracewell, Caidr’s Chief Medical Officer, added:

“As a Doctor working in Primary Care, I think any novel technology that can assist with reducing transmission through social distancing is a potential lifesaver at the moment.  Every opportunity to encourage social distancing could lead to reduced burden on our hospitals and National Health Service. In General Practice a large part of the work involves educating patients on health and lifestyle points.  The Caidr app has the potential to give people the power, information and know-how to support themselves with self-treatment advice and minor ailment information at a crucial time.”

The release includes 500 new assessments, an updated user design, and a travel health section that informs users of the considerations they should make before going abroad, such as important vaccinations, mosquito disease risks, and general travel advice.

The app is free on both Apple and Google Play store.

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by Editor