The development of a diagnostic tool for assessing, diagnosing, reporting, and tracking COVID-19 patients by 98point6 is now being supported by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).
The tool, originally used to treat and track influenza infections, also utilizes a mobile app to connect people with board-certified physicians, allowing them to seek and receive care at home. In this way, the designers are hopeful they can help reduce the spread of infection by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 and has fueled a worldwide pandemic.
The program, which operates in near real-time, allows for nationwide reporting respiratory illness, allowing for quicker response by public health organizations. For patients with fever or respiratory symptoms, the tool automates COVID-19 screening through in-app messaging. Results are compiled into daily and weekly reports of respiratory illness activity and organized by zip code, painting a clearer picture of national hot spots along the way. The system also offers the ability for quick follow-ups with individuals to continue tracking health changes and outcomes.
Now, 98point6 hopes to conduct a nationwide test of the tool through a study of up to 10,000 people. These patients will be directed to testing locations for confirmatory diagnostic testing, regardless of symptomology. Virtual care visits will be unlimited and provided free until Jan. 8, 2021. The company hopes this will reduce the load on the larger healthcare system heading into flu season.