Warwick Medical School Experts Produce App to Support New Medics on the Covid-19 Frontline

Three doctors and clinical educators at University of Warwick have launched a new bedside tool to support frontline healthcare workers. Their app is designed to act as a bedside tool for junior doctors, GPs, nurses and other health professionals who are looking after patients with COVID-19.

It is especially hoped that the app will be beneficial to those training physicans, nurses and other clinical staff who have stepped forward and onto the frontline during the crisis straight from being in training.

The app’s creators have pooled their knowledge and expertise to create and launch The COVID-19 Team App, aimed at improving knowledge and understanding of the virus among medical professionals working on the frontline with patients during the pandemic.

The real-time app collates the latest developments on treatments and care for COVID-19 patients as they come on stream, using leading academic and public health information sources such as the Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, Public Health England and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The app was designed and its content screened, by fifteen or more experts from many different medical disciplines, to ensure that it is comprehensively representing the most reliable science.

Dr Andy Stein, Honorary Clinical Lecturer at the University of Warwick, said: “This app exists to help healthcare professionals share their findings and best practice nationally and internationally. We need to discover what works and what doesn’t work in other hospitals.

“With all of us working in general practice and hospitals, and helping deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, we were surprised at the lack of information available to junior doctors and nurses. They were turning to unreliable sources, on how to deal with the growing number of patients. We then decided to create an evolving tool to help inform clinicians as new data emerges.”

The app is primarily aimed at junior doctors, nurses and final year medical students, as they make up the majority of healthcare staff working with patients during the pandemic. Although not its main audience, it also exists as a resource for the general public. It is also designed for international use.

It includes tips for healthcare professionals handling COVID-19 patients, including spotting conditions with similar symptoms and alternative diagnoses; interpreting the diagnostic test (a throat and nose RNA PCR test) and its false negative rate; use of antibiotics for secondary infections; and how to judge how patients are getting better after initial examinations.

Dr James Gill, Honorary Clinical Lecturer at Warwick Medical School, said: “Coronavirus had turned our wards upside down, both in terms of the patients we’re seeing but also the doctors who are caring for them. Across the NHS, healthcare workers in all professions have risen to the challenge. One of the issues with an outbreak of an entirely new virus such as this is the fragmentation of information and to overcome this we have created COVID19 Team App.

“A fantastic team has involved in the creation of this app, and shows what is possible with a shared vision to provide accurate, consolidated, curated information on COVID19. Crucially the COVID19 Team App is a web based design to reduce the barriers to access. No log in, no downloads, no paywalls, and available to patient and profession alike on your phone, desktop computer or tablet.”

Dr Stein added: “We have been helped in our research and writing for the app by an army of final-year medical students, who are now acting up as junior doctors all over the UK. They would have normally started their careers in August. We are very grateful to them.”

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