3 Filipino-made medical apps to help combat coronavirus

Kyle Chua

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3 Filipino-made medical apps to help combat coronavirus
Local developers are stepping up to help in the fight against the novel coronavirus with innovative tech solutions

MANILA, Philippines – A self-assessment survey to determine who needs proper testing, an emergency dispatcher app, and an improvised thermal scanner – these are just some of the innovative and cost-efficient tech solutions shared by local developers to help fight the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

We’re taking a look at each one them here:

Status: Available now

With the Department of Health (DOH) saying that testing is limited only to severe cases, not everyone can get tested even though they have symptoms of the virus. So White Widget, a tech agency that develops apps for various platforms, came up with FightCOVID.app, a survey that you can take to know if you need to get tested.

“FightCOVID.app is a tool meant to reduce overcrowding in hospitals, clinics, and health centers,” the app wrote on its official Twitter page. “By accomplishing this self-assessment survey, you’re doing your part in making sure high-priority patients get the care they need.”

The survey assesses your risks by asking you questions based on DOH guidelines about your exposure, your symptoms, your underlying medical conditions, and your age. Depending on your answers, you’ll be given advice on how you’re doing and whether you need to seek medical care or not. 

“Remember it’s not meant to be accurate and does not constitute a diagnosis. It’s meant to assess your probability of having COVID-19 to help you decide how & when to seek care,” it added. 

While they have yet to receive accreditation from the DOH, the developers said that the tool has been reviewed by 8 doctors, including a representative from the health agency, and was cleared in a cybersecurity audit by the Department of Information and Communications Technology. 

Status: In development

The current enhanced community quarantine measures being implemented have made it hard for some people, including medical frontliners, to get and use the services they need when they need it. Eddie, an emergency dispatcher app that is currently being developed by a team of volunteers, looks to change just that by offering a place for various groups to request for basic supplies and needs.

Medical frontliners, health workers, and those needing transportation or emergency transfer can use the app to pin their location and find authorized government vehicles, who can provide them a free lift. 

The app also lets people place requests for basic supplies and emergency responders from healthcare, military, police, and fire departments, giving the government a good overview of the situation in different communities. 

Status: In development

Thermal scanners are essential in detecting people who have a fever, a common symptom of viral infections, including COVID-19. However, they have become hard to come by as of late, with demand soaring amid the worldwide pandemic of the novel coronavirus.

Enter, the Smart, Intuitive, Non-contact Assessment and Triaging app, or SINAT, for short, a thermal scanning system created by a group of volunteer developers. 

SINAT looks to help both medical and non-medical frontliners detect possible cases of COVID-19 without putting themselves at risk of infection. 

How does it do this? The system uses a portable and improvised thermal scanner, designed by the developers themselves, to check the body temperature of people. The scanner itself can be mounted on a tripod to minimize contact with people who may be infected.

The results of the scan, which include the thermometer value and a thermal image,, will then be sent to a smartphone app via Bluetooth where a case record will be created using anonymized data. If a person is found to have a fever, the app will immediately notify authorities to conduct further testing. 

SINAT’s team member, Ryan Ericson Gonzales Canlas posted on Facebook that the system can be deployed in barangays and hospitals where frontliners are often most at risk of exposure. 

The team hopes to improve the system in the future by adding additional sensors and expanding its support for other devices. – Rappler.com

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