Coronavirus Quarantine Application Specifications

Coronavirus COVID-19 Quarantine Software Application Idea
  • When someone tests positive, a person from the health department should call with an app registration code issued by the government (either state or federal). This case code would help track each patient until an outcome is reached (recovery or deceased).
  • The patient would be required to download the app and put in the code and answer some questions verifying identity, which is linked with the person’s social security number.
  • Upon registration, the patient would set up voice identification and facial recognition.
  • The patient would also set up the location they plan to stay at for the duration of the illness.
  • The purpose of the app would be to keep the patient in a defined area.
  • The patient’s phone would send location information every minute. With geo-fencing, public health officials would be quickly notified if the phone left the allowed area.
  • To confirm that the patient did not simply leave their phone at home, they would be required to check in every few hours (randomized), perhaps two to six times a day.
  • The app would send an alert asking the patient to check in.
  • The patient needs to respond within two minutes of the alert. The requested response could be a call back to an automated system or a selfie.
  • If the patient does not respond within two minutes, a public health employee is notified.
  • The public health employee would call the patient. Perhaps the patient had the phone alerts on mute or was taking a shower. This would give the patient an opportunity to fulfill the check-in.
  • If the patient does not fulfill the check-in requirements within ten minutes, following a defined rubric, the public health employee may ask the police for a welfare check.
  • If the patient left the quarantine, they could be fined or jailed.
  • Location information. The allowable radius (geo-fencing) can vary based on population density. If there are reliable data sets for housing or apartments that are more precise than a simple radius, we should use that.
  • Camera. We can tap into the phone’s facial recognition software to tell us if the selfie is of the patient or not. If the built-in software is not able to verify the photo, the app will give suggestions for lighting and show examples of how to take a better photo. The app will give multiple opportunities to submit a real-time photo that passes facial recognition. If after two minutes the patient is unable to fulfill the facial recognition selfie check-in, the patient can send the best photos for human verification. Beards and poor photography technique can cause problems. A public health employee can then attempt to correct the technique through education.
  • Accelerometer. In combination with the location information, computers can tell if a patient is active, driving in a car, or if they haven’t moved for a long time.
  • Alerts. This is required for the random check-ins.
  • Health (optional)
  • Photos (optional)
  • Contacts (optional)
  • All information entered into the app would be uploaded to a server for public health workers to review if necessary.
  • Check-in selfie camera
  • History (previous check-in times and selfies taken)
  • Contacts log (to log locations and contact names for the health department to trace)
  • Symptoms tracking (optional, but this can use AI to provide forewarning to caregivers that someone may be taking a turn for the worse)
  • Mental health support (relaxation videos, relaxation tips, hotline to call, exercise videos, meal ideas)
  • Supplies support (running out of food or supplies)
  • User settings
  • Once a patient registers, they can fill out a log for their contacts.
  • There would be prompts for them to review their calendar, GPS, and photos for the past 14 days.
  • If access to photos is allowed, the location information for the photos can be pulled and reviewed with the patient. Perhaps they took a picture at a park. Or maybe they were in the car waiting for someone when they took a screenshot of something funny. Location information can help someone retrace their steps to identify potential contacts.
  • Other apps with location check-ins such as Facebook can be reviewed with the patient as well.
  • Patients can fill out a checklist of symptoms and be encouraged to keep a subjective journal.
  • If they choose, this information can be compiled into a PDF report sent via email to the patient’s loved ones or even to the patient’s doctor.
  • If they choose, this information can also be condensed into an image that they can share on social media. Building in some fun and social interaction can help with collecting valuable data from patients.
  • Relaxation tools should be easily accessible here.
  • A hotline should be available and staffed by social workers to help guide the patient through stressful situations.
  • Calisthenic exercises or yoga videos may help reduce stress.
  • Quick and easy meal or snack ideas.
  • A patient can request common supplies in this section. If a patient does not have people who can leave food, toilet paper, or other supplies at their door, public health workers may bring donated supplies to a patient. Remember that we have to support the quarantined people so that they don’t feel compelled to leave the quarantine.
  • Computers can make predictive models for patients who may need to be hospitalized in the next 24 hours by reviewing some key data sets.
  • Review the symptom checklist and scanning the diary for key phrases
  • Review accelerometer data for the level of activity.
  • Use advanced photo software (server side) to see if the patient has suddenly lost weight, which may indicate dehydration.
  • Changes in usage of the mental health section can indicate increased stress. AI can learn which relaxation videos to recommend depending on stress level. AI can also learn if someone is likely to break quarantine or not.
  • Most check-ins would occur when there is accelerometer activity so that we don’t disturb a resting period for the patient. Eventually AI would learn the patient’s activity routine and notice deviations. Deviations could mean a decline in the patient’s health or it could mean that they left the quarantine. AI can help raise red flags.
  • The Apple Watch is rumored to have pulse oximeter capabilities with the next iOS release. When this becomes available, this is another critical indicator of someone who may need to be hospitalized. All physicians agree that <88% is way too low and requires immediate hospitalization. 89%-92% oxygen saturation is in the danger zone and may require hospitalization if there are other risk factors, such as heart disease.
  • The Apple Watch can do a single lead EKG tracing and track heart rate over time. If access to the Health section is made available to the app, the system can make recommendations if danger signs are detected, such as increases in average heart rate over several days, or sustained tachycardia (heart rate over 100 beats a minute).
  • Android systems may have similar capabilities. (I’m most familiar with the Apple ecosystem.)
  • Consider “gamification” with badges, fun/benign competitions for quarantined folks, creating a feeling of community, and celebrations for recovered people.
  • Confirmed case (This can be from a positive PCR test or a doctor’s recommendation, perhaps from characteristic CT findings and/or a positive ELISA antibody test.)
  • Close contact (The contact may or may not be symptomatic but meets CDC criteria for significant exposure with a confirmed case)
  • Hospitalization
  • Intensive Care Unit
  • COVID-19 death (final outcome)
  • COVID-19 recovery (final outcome)




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Wei-Shin Lai, M.D.

Wei-Shin Lai, M.D.

Doctor turned entrepreneur

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