Building a COVID-19 screening app to keep healthcare providers safe at Froedtert & MCW

May 17, 2021 Chris Caggiano

The COVID-19 pandemic response in 2020 and 2021 placed added stress on healthcare systems and clinicians. Straightforward operational tasks—such as entering the hospital, locating and tracking personal protective equipment (PPE), answering call center inquiries, and maintaining appropriate staffing—became system challenges in a rapidly changing environment. Clinicians were tasked with caring for large numbers of critically ill patients while contending with evolving treatment guidelines, staffing challenges, and isolation from their families. Short term indicators like happiness scores saw a decline—in the 2021 Medscape National Physician Burnout & Suicide Report overall physician happiness ratings plunged from 69% in 2019 to 49% as a reflection of interruptions in workflow and clinical efficiency.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended that all employees should be screened daily upon entrance to health facilities. Early attempts were manual and time-consuming. Understanding the need to make the process faster and more automated, a fully digital solution was created in July 2020 by Inception Health, the innovation group at the Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin Health Network, and deployed for screening employees using React Native combined with a native cloud solution developed on AWS. The solution provides the ability to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms daily, display a valid clearance passport at facility entrance, receive alerts in case of potential risk of COVID-19, schedule fast-track COVID-19 testing, and access information and guidance.

Using the AWS Cloud Development Kit to facilitate platform design using Python 3.8, the team, led by Dr. Melek Somai, created a serverless architecture and leveraged Amazon Cognito, Amazon API Gateway, AWS Lambda, Amazon CloudWatch, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon SNS, and AWS Amplify to create their mobile solution that integrates into the existing Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin mobile application.

 

Inception Health COVID-19 Screening App architecture diagram

COVID-19 screening app architecture diagram

A working prototype was developed in ten days, followed by testing and an official launch only 20 days later. Since then, over 18,000 healthcare workers have signed up for the service and more than 12,000 screenings are performed daily. From August 2020 to January 2021, more than 1.35 Million screenings had been performed. By providing a user experience that is intuitive and convenient, the Inception Health team at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin rapidly addressed a challenge and delivered an easy-to-use application that avoided adding any extra stress on providers.

Join Dr. Somai as he presents “Deploying a Digital Solution for COVID Screening and Monitoring of Healthcare Professionals”, including a look into the user experience, during the AWS Healthcare & Life Sciences Virtual Symposium on May 27th, 2021. The solution and AWS architecture are further detailed on Dr. Somai’s blog, Digital Platform for Screening Healthcare Professionals for COVID-19.

To learn more about Healthcare and Life Sciences on AWS, visit aws.amazon.com/health.

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