The questions almost everyone are asking right now is: Do I have corona? Am I carrying the virus without being aware of it? And am I therefore a danger to others? Do I have to stay at home for two weeks because I have a slight tickle in my throat? Should I worry about my previous illnesses? In Germany, in the event of so-called moderate symptoms, they only test those who have been in at-risk areas or who have been in contact with people who have confirmed cases of infection.

An app for Berlin

Instead of testing, there could also be an app, IO columnist Auke Hoekstra wrote on here yesterday. He wrote: “Companies make you fill out web forms because it saves them time. It’s an extremely efficient way for them to gather information. Where is the app that gathers information from all of us about anything that concerns the coronavirus?”

The Berlin Charité hospital has now launched CovApp. An online form (in English) where you can answer 26 simple questions in less than five minutes. The app went live on March the 20th. You enter details such as your age, occupation, travel activities and so on. The results are sent back immediately.

“Due to the high demand in our Charité screening center, it’s becoming all the more important not to endanger people at the screening center whose symptoms do not indicate SARS-CoV-2. And vice versa, to be able to test as soon as possible patients who are in need of urgent testing,” explains Prof. Dr. Ulrich Frei, Charité’s Director of Health Care.

The Berlin Charité, one of the largest university hospitals in Europe, developed this app for Berlin in collaboration with the Potsdam-based organization Data4Life.

Medicine and technology

Data4life is a non-profit organization with approximately 100 employees in 5 locations worldwide which is committed to improving healthcare through the use of technology.

“As a non-profit organization, we have the privilege and the obligation to use our expertise and resources at times like these to help improve the situation that the corona pandemic has led to and to reduce the risks,” Christian Weiß explains. He’s CEO of Data4Life.

The CovApp is directly linked to Charité’s website. You can easily access this app at home using a computer or a smartphone. Recommendations for what measures should be taken will be displayed after the survey. For example, calling one of the public health hotlines, going to a doctor, or staying at home in isolation for 14 days. In addition, a QR code is issued. Which can be immediately forwarded to a doctor’s office in preparation for a visit to a doctor in case a medical examination is advised.

Data protection

For users, it’s also definitely good to know that the questionnaire is anonymous. It is solely processed and stored on the terminal computer in question. None of the answers will be transferred to Charité or to third parties.

It remains to be seen whether the new app will really take the burden off the healthcare system. Nevertheless, there is bound to be a slightly positive psychological effect for users when the recommended course of action states: ‘Take care of yourself and keep calm!”