Singapore Launches COVID-19 Online Symptom Checker

Members of the public who use the system receive “immediate suggestions on possible next steps, be it continuing to monitor their symptoms or seeking medical attention at the appropriate healthcare setting.”

An automated resource website specifically created to help people living in Singapore spot Coronavirus symptoms, and help them decide on what their next step should be based on the severity of their symptoms, the Singapore COVID-19 symptom checker, was launched Friday (3 April). This is a joint collaboration by the National University Health System (NUHS), National Centre for Infectious Disease (NCID) and the Ministry of Health Office for Healthcare Transformation (MOHT).

Singapore Launches COVID-19 Online Symptom Checker

COVID-19 symptom checker helps people check suspicions on any coronavirus symptoms they may be experiencing. Photo: iStock

COVID-19 symptom checker

Online screening platform

The Singapore COVID-19 symptom checker, found at www.sgcovidcheck.com  is an online screening tool that enables the user to run a customised, self-check based on their symptoms and get basic advice on what they should do next, ranging from “observe yourself for 2-3 days”, to “Go to the nearest emergency at your local hospital.” The symptom checker can also be found on MOH’s website under COVID-19 Resources and on MOH’s HealthHub app.

The screening tool is simple and easy to use and helps people who are worried they may be infected with COVID-19, get appropriate advice based on a series of questions. It takes into consideration a person’s symptoms, age, recent travel history, and any known exposure to people who have already been infected. The resource website is currently only in English but will be available in other languages soon.

covid-19 symptom checker

COVID-19 symptom checker. Photo: Screengrab

According to a joint media release by the authorities, members of the public who use the system receive “immediate suggestions on possible next steps, be it continuing to monitor their symptoms or seeking medical attention at the appropriate healthcare setting.”

“While the tool does not dispense medical advice, it helps with navigating the healthcare system,” they further added.

The system has been designed in accordance with similar online screening tools already in use in the United States, China and some countries in Europe, but with information specifically catered to the Singaporean public.

COVID-19 symptom checker: Tech-solutions to stay on top of the pandemic

While the checker records participants’ responses to collect data to collate information on the different types of users who are worried about COVID-19, it does not ask for any data such as name or IC number to personally identify you.

The authorities noted that the data collected acts as “important predictors of health-seeking behaviour and drive better healthcare resources allocation” while providing healthcare workers with “insights into where the needs are and what people are most concerned about, which helps MOH (Ministry of Health) with patient education and communications efforts.”

According to  Dr Praveen Deorani, a data scientist at MOHT, access to information on the users of the system is vital to being able to track the behaviour fo the virus itself. “With more people using the checker, and with our subsequent analysis of how it is being used, we can then use machine learning techniques to track the behaviour of the virus (and the symptoms it manifests) so the patient can elect the right locus of treatment at the right time,” he said.

Further plans to include more features into the checker such as pre-registration for consultations at clinics, or access to telemedicine providers, information on waiting times at emergency departments, facilities to directly connect those who need testing to appropriate healthcare facilities, and a heatmap on COVID-19 infections clusters, will also be provided at a later date.

The symptom checker was developed upon statistics received by the MOH that showed 24 per cent of COVID-19 patients in Singapore had participated in “doctor-hopping”, and had consulted multiple doctors in a short period of time.

This article has been republished with permission from theAsianparent.

Written by: Shabnam Muzammil

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