Vanderbilt researchers create virtual self-screening tool for COVID-19


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Vanderbilt University launched a new virtual self-screening tool this week that will help individuals assess their risk of being infected with COVID-19.

In addition, the app could expedite testing and collection of public health data.

Both T.S. Harvey, associate professor of anthropology and expert in risk reduction and global public health and Thomas Scherr, a research professor of chemistry and expert in mobile health, are hoping to give people access to resources, understand who COVID-19 is impacting and how it evolves over time.

“There’s still a lot of information not known about COVID-19, we’re hoping our assessment can produce some of those answers​,” Scherr said.

Members of the public can access the screening tool on a computer or mobile device. It guides users through a screening quiz that asks questions about symptoms, as well as demographic and social risk factors.

The tool uses one’s answers to develop a risk score and then guides the user toward appropriate next steps whether that’s reinforcing good hygiene and social distancing behaviors, a referral to the user’s state health department for further evaluation or a referral for testing.

“We hope we can get people to participate [in mitigating the spread of COVID-19] in a powerful way…and this can be a service to our community, state and nation,” Harvey said. ​”We’re hoping to reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19 and any potential burden on hospital systems as a result of COVID-19.”​

The web app also provides a list of nearby testing sites and can provide estimated wait times for each site.

Anonymized data will also be made available to Vanderbilt researchers studying the spread of COVID-19.

It is important to note, the tool is designed to assess one’s risk of exposure, not diagnose COVID-19, and shouldn’t replace a conversation with a health care professional.

The tool is available here on there website.

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