Mount Sinai Launches New App to Track COVID-19 in NYC, Asks All New Yorkers to Help

It could provide critical real-time analysis, and the team wants feedback from everyone, healthy or sick, young or old

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A team of data scientists, physicians, and engineers across the Mount Sinai Health System has launched STOP COVID NYC, a web-based app to capture the symptoms and spread of COVID-19 in New York City. The group wants all New Yorkers to participate -- the more data, the better equipped the health care system will be to respond to areas in need and identify emerging clusters.

The web app, now available by texting “COVID” to 64722, allows NYC residents to enroll in the tool to monitor their symptoms. Users complete an initial survey with questions about demographics, exposure, and symptom history, followed by short daily surveys about their symptoms via text messages sent to their phones.

“The new web app will track the spread of the virus throughout our New York City community, helping medical professionals and government officials to provide appropriate responses to deal with the crisis,” said Laura Huckins, PhD, Assistant Professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, and Psychiatry, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and a leader of this project. “To do this well, we need our whole city to help, not just those in hospitals or with access to health care. Everyone is included, and everyone can help. Capturing citywide coronavirus data from residents before, during, and after they become ill could help to reduce the pressure on medical resources and contribute to slowing the spread.”

Data collected from the survey could alert health care providers about growing clusters of outbreaks in specific communities across the five boroughs, helping to better allocate resources for rising numbers of patients. In broader global and public health efforts, the results from the exposure surveys could guide long-term research about factors affecting the spread of the virus and jumpstart enrollment for future clinical trials and studies for treatments.

The systemwide effort to develop the app includes expertise from several medical disciplines. It could provide critical real-time analysis, and the team wants feedback from everyone, healthy or sick, young or old. As one team leader said, "This is a survey about New Yorkers, for New Yorkers."

“Most data used to guide clinical decisions for COVID-19 have been generated in China, but with New York City among the cities with the largest number of cases—a number that continues to grow—we see a critical and urgent need to understand more about the clinical course of the disease,” said Girish Nadkarni, MD, a team lead, Clinical Director of the Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Health, faculty member in the Charles Bronfman Institute of Personalized Medicine, and Assistant Professor of Medicine (Nephrology) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “This is a unique opportunity to collect data in a diverse population during an outbreak surge, which could provide powerful predictions of the clinical outcomes of our most vulnerable patients.”

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