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Infectious Diseases

08 May 2020

Local company builds Covid-19 hospital tracking solution in 72 hours

The global pandemic is placing increasing pressure on many countries’ healthcare systems, but a new, locally developed web app gives hospitals an indicator of how many Covid-19 cases they can expect in the near future.

On 7 May, there were more than 3.8 million confirmed Covid-19 cases and more than 267 000 deaths around the world, the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre indicates. In South Africa, we've been seeing a daily increase: the latest confirmed cases are 8 238, with 161 confirmed deaths.

With the Covid-19 pandemic placing unprecedented demands on hospitals around the world, health authorities worry about an insufficient supply of ventilators, beds and staff to help those infected.

Countries experiencing a shortage of these include South Sudan, Somalia and Venezuela. And to manage this crisis and establish hospital readiness in South Africa, Trixta, a collaborative low-code platform for business minds and software developers, have launched ReportCovidCase.com – a web app that was built in just 72 hours, and gives hospitals an indicator of how many cases they will have in the near future.

This initiative came after the company was approached by a private GP helping out at a well-known Cape Town hospital, expressing concerns about the lack of information about Covid-19 cases reaching hospitals. This prevents healthcare workers from knowing how many ventilators, beds and staff are required.

How the app works

The app enables local referring general practitioners (GPs) to log cases. This information then becomes available and accessible to hospitals in real-time, and helps them to plan their capacity and equipment needs. Best of all, it comes at no cost, and no training and set-up is required. Patient information can be anonymised, which means the process is rapid.

“A well-prepared hospital saves lives. Previously, GPs were relaying alerts to hospitals over WhatsApp and phone calls. However, with the anticipated upsurge that is likely to emerge particularly once the national lockdown is lifted, this will not be feasible,” said Trixta COO and Co-founder, Roger Norton, adding that if hospitals have the opportunity to start measuring what referring GPs are seeing, it will allow them to better prepare for the imminent rise in cases.

The platform is currently being trialled by 70 doctors in the greater Cape Town City Bowl area and one hospital, and has been built to allow multiple hospitals to sign up within one day. The intention is for it to be scaled further across South Africa and beyond, although funding is required to enable this.

“Up until now, this has been a completely pro bono project, but there is an increasingly urgent need to provide this kind of support to more hospitals throughout the country so that they can be properly prepared to face the impending spike in Covid-19 cases,” explained Norton.

Trixta will also be improving the platform over time to ensure that dashboards and reporting are improved, and it will also connect data from the web app to data from other sources, such as Pathcare and government databases, so as to track relationships between patients, and ultimately better monitor hotspot outbreaks.

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Image: Hush Naidoo/Unsplash