Once a suspected case tests positive for COVID-19, it becomes a race against time to find all those who have had personal contact with the infected. If contact tracing and isolation don’t happen quickly enough, mitigation efforts will rapidly fail to contain the virus in any community.
An Essential Tool to Fight COVID-19
Since COVID-19 started appearing in communities around the world, contact tracing has quickly become an essential tool for mitigating the spread of infections. Unlike many viruses, COVID-19 has an asymptomatic incubation period that can cause victims to unwittingly spread the virus for almost two weeks before they know they’re infected. And because testing capabilities are often severely limited, contact tracing becomes especially crucial once an infection is detected.
Once a suspected case tests positive, it becomes a race against time to find all those who have had personal contact with the infected. If contact tracing and isolation don’t happen quickly enough, mitigation efforts will rapidly fail to contain the virus in any community.
Unfortunately, traditional contact tracing methods of phone calls and in-person visits can be slow at best. At worst, they can make things worse by spreading the virus even more. Communities and organizations around the world have leveraged Knack to quickly develop no-code applications that allow them to contact trace infections and quickly mitigate the spread among local populations.
Modernizing Contact Tracing in The Philippines
In the early days of the pandemic, Dr. Romulo de Castro of the Center for Informatics at the University of San Agustin in Iloilo City began to realize how important contact tracing could become. He chose Knack to help them quickly develop a scalable contact tracing application.
Because the platform allows users to rapidly develop custom applications without coding, they were able to produce essential functionality in a fraction of the time of traditional software development.
The wisdom of their effort was suddenly confirmed with an outbreak of COVID-19 among staff at the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH). Almost overnight, it was discovered that 28 employees had contracted the disease, placing hundreds more at risk of infection. By April 5th, the hospital had 297 potential cases under investigation, with 50 under quarantine.
The Center for Informatics had previously collaborated with Dr. Jesus Emmanuel Sevilleja at NCMH, and immediately responded by working to leverage the contact tracing app.
While NCMH was already doing contact tracing, more individuals continued to become infected. Dr. Sevilleja surmised that self-reporting would allow for faster tracing of contacts. Since the initial app allowed only Dr. Sevilleja to enter contact tracing data from among the patients and staff of NMCH, Dr. de Castro quickly developed additional functionality for self-reporting. That allowed around 60 people to report their contact with Covid-19 positive persons within 12 hours of launching. Ten of these staff were then quarantined, and are using the app to list other people they had been in contact with.
“We launched yesterday (Friday, April 10) and there was just me updating the data,” Dr. Sevilleja explains. “But more importantly, people started self-reporting, so we are already catching potential people to test.”
“It gives us an idea who are the people that need testing which we normally cannot catch under the normal contact tracing protocol. Self-reporting is really this app’s advantage. The contact tracer will have less physical exposure to COVID-19 patients if this app is used.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, the Center for Informatics plans to update the app to meet whatever new challenges may come. They’re already working on a patient registry, periodic self-reporting for those under quarantine and quality of care monitoring.
Word is getting out. The need for fast and efficient contact tracing is universal in the fight against COVID-19, as well as in any eventual plans to reopen. And effectively managing the vast amounts of contact tracing data can quickly overwhelm spreadsheets or other systems.
“Other organizations have already asked us to provide them a similar tool,” says Dr. Sevilleja.
Knack is purpose-built to enable organizations to foster grass-roots, real-world problem solving among employees of all levels. Everyday innovators have been using our no-code platform to adapt to real-world problems since we were founded, and continue to do amazing things during the age of COVID-19. By leveraging Knack’s intuitive platform and expert builder network, organizations can quickly build no-code or low-code applications that can help them rise to the challenges of Coronavirus, and whatever comes next.