COVID-19 symptoms? Bruyere is using an app to check

Published April 16, 2020 6:54 p.m. ET

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OTTAWA -- Anyone entering a hospital, retirement home or long term care facility in Ontario is being screened to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

That process has involved asking questions at the door, often causing a backlog for patients and staff looking to get inside.

There’s now an app that cuts down on the process.       

Gatineau-based software developer Macadamian has worked with Bruyere to create a screening app.

“All of a sudden, COVID-19 struck; a critical challenge faced itself; we were just happy that given our relationship with them that we were able to tackle it and tackle it very quickly - literally within a couple of weeks,” said Timon LeDain of Macadamian.

Bruyere has restricted visitor access during the COVID-19 pandemic. Manon Clement, who’s managing the screening at Bruyere, says “screening is important for the safety of our patients, and the safety of our staff.”

“Ninety per cent of the people are extremely happy with the application; it’s quicker and more user friendly.”    

The app cuts down on wait times at the door, previously caused by using a paper form to screen anyone coming into the facility, 

“Staff were seeing 45 minutes waiting outside in line, in the cold, in the rain, in the snow waiting to go out to screening,” said Clement.

Staff are pleased with the new process to be screened and enter the facility. Mario DaPonte is the Clinical Manager, Palliative Care at Bruyere:

“It evolved from a paper based, long time-consuming - used to slow things down and create line-ups, to one that’s electronic now”

How does it work?

The app asks yes or no questions, such as: “Fever?”; “New or worsening cough?”; “Have you travelled internationally?”

Once answers are entered, the software will display a green, yellow, or red screen.

“It’s colour coded now, green meaning that you passed and you’re ready to go, yellow means that you can still pass - but with some precaution such a mask, and red means that you fail and you need to follow up with occupational health,” said Clement.

The app leave no room for confusion.

LeDain says he expects the app to be rolled out across Canada in the coming weeks, and not just at hospitals.

“Long-term care facility owners, managers, other hospitals who are looking to stream line this process, as well as airports and factory locations where even though it’s non-health care, the workers still need to work in close proximity to one-another, and they want to mitigate the risk up front for any potential spread.”

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