Building a Native COVID-19 Support App…in Two Weeks

An Introduction to COVID-19

Coronavirus disease, otherwise known as COVID-19 (‘CO’ stands for ‘Corona’, ‘VI’ stands for ‘virus’, ‘D’ stands for ‘Disease’ and ‘-19’ for the year of its discovery) has unequivocally affected the world on a global scale, officially characterized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. 

As of April 1, 2020 the WHO confirmed 823,626 cases of COVID-19, with 40,598 deaths in 206 countries worldwide. 163,199 of COVID-19 cases are in the United States.  With this number expected to grow and uncertainties regarding an end in sight, this is the most significant disease outbreak of our generation. 

The novel coronavirus disease has affected individuals with symptoms varying in levels of intensity, the milder of these symptoms being aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. The worst cases may experience fever, cough, difficulty breathing or death.

An Urgent Need for a Solution

On Saturday, March 21, amidst global lockdowns to slow the spread of COVID-19, Lithios received a phone call from a local healthcare organization requesting immediate support developing an app directly related to the outbreak. 

The client explained that using typical communication channels (email, for example) results in very low engagement (open and click through) rates in a time where rapid knowledge transfer is essential. Thousands of medical providers in their network are receiving a steady stream of new emails related to the coronavirus, and the time required to decipher which messages are most urgent, open and read them, and click on the associated links to learn of recent details can take a substantial amount of time and may cause more confusion than clarity. The seriousness of sending the most important notifications and updates quickly and directly to the organization’s providers, given the vital nature of the pandemic, was evident.

To alleviate these communication issues, the client requested we build a mobile application to provide these prioritized updates and resources to all providers within their network. Additionally, they requested the app to be completed within two weeks, if possible, due to the dramatic influx of coronavirus cases. The “normal” timeline for design and development of a new application typically takes months, depending on the complexity of the application, so this was new territory for our company.

Taking into consideration the severity and timely nature of this problem, our team assembled within an hour of initial communications with the client to discuss the technical architecture of the proposed solution, feature requirements, how this would impact the projects we are currently working on, and the feasibility of their restricted timeline. Within an hour we created a plan of attack.  By allocating a considerable portion of our development resources and lasering in on core screens and functionality, we devised a strategy to complete the project within seven to ten days. With no time to waste, we began immediately.

Quickly Disseminating Critical Information Using Technology

During a disease outbreak such as COVID-19 where we are faced with exponential rates of infection, it is crucial for our healthcare system to receive pertinent, timely information. By using simple technology features such as real-time push notifications (a message that “pops up” on a mobile device as soon as it is sent) and pull-to-refresh (pulling down and releasing the screen to update content), the need for rapid and direct information delivery can be met with no complications.

When using an internal communication application that encompasses features like push notifications and pull-to-refresh, the message sender (our client, in this case) should feel a sense of peace that, as soon as the recipient looks at their phone screen, they will now know the most relevant updates, best practices and resources. This will save essential time spent sifting through emails, which in turn will give health professionals more time, energy and information to more effectively treat patients and ultimately save lives.

How Lithios Can Help

Efficient communication within healthcare (first responders, EMTs, hospitals, and clinics, for example), government sectors (fire departments, police departments), large companies, etc. during these unprecedented times is truly a matter of life and death. Please consider contacting us to see how we can create similar tools to support your needs during this trying time. 

Tools and Resources

We have compiled the following list of other tools and resources which may help to support providers treating the disease and prevent the spread of COVID-19:

COVID-19 Monitoring:

  • Covid Monitoring (For employers and healthcare organizations to monitor employees, patients, and other individuals at scale for emerging symptoms of COVID-19)
  • Covid Symptom Tracker (A self-reporting COVID-19 symptom tool. Currently only available in the UK)  

General COVID-19 resources and information:

Take-out Delivery:

Miscellaneous Delivery:

Kassidy Jezierski Image

Kassidy Jezierski leads business development at Lithios. She works to clearly communicate the capabilities and optimal engagement opportunities between Lithios and its clients. In her free time, she enjoys fingerpainting pictures of lambs and docile sheep.

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