Vancouver digital agency creates coronavirus test tracking app

Apr 28 2020, 2:39 pm

A new web app created by Vancouver digital agency Hot Tomali to help map coronavirus testing sites across the US, Canada, and Mexico was a winner of the COVID-19 Global Hackathon #BuildforCOVID19, and is now live.

The hackathon, which promoted the development of software to take on challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic was initially a collaboration between the tech world, scientists at the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, and the World Health Organization. Participating technology companies include AWS, Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, Pinterest, Salesforce, Slack, TikTok, WeChat, and more.

The web app itself, HealthAlerts.io, comes complete with searchable maps and filters, the site has already curated and approved over 6,200 verified coronavirus testing locations with new data being added daily. It was one of only 89 winning projects.

“We’re extremely happy to have been selected in the #BuildforCOVID19 hackathon, and to have a live project that’s already serving the public” says Thomas Stringham, founder and CEO of Hot Tomali. “We leveraged technology from previous projects which allowed us to develop a solution rapidly.”

While the initial list of test locations have come from public health organizations and government sources, users can also submit new testing locations, reviews and pictures as a means to crowdsource the rapidly changing coronavirus testing landscape.

To expedite the testing process, users are directed to self-assessment tools based on their geographic location. Self-assessments are the first step in determining a person’s eligibility for testing, and localized assessment tools allow users to determine what steps they need to take to get tested without burdening the healthcare system with unnecessary phone and email inquiries.

“Mass COVID-19 testing is the only way for people to get back to normalcy and for the economy to re-open safely,” said Stringham. “Our goal is to make COVID-19 testing as accessible as possible.”

To ensure ongoing access to the most trusted information, HealthAlerts.io also offers real-time bulletins from CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), HHS (United States Department of Health and Human Services), FDA (US Food and Drug Administration), WHO (World Health Organization), Health Canada, HealthLinkBC, and ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control).

The alert data is pulled directly from sources via RSS as they are published, and more sources are being added as they become available, the agency said.