Suzanne Bakken Serves as Co-Investigator on COVID Tracking App, CovidWatcher
Researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center have developed an app that will survey users to track the spread of COVID-19, identify hot-spots, and measure impact on daily life throughout New York City.
The CovidWatcher app, which differs from many other trackers, asks users to serve as “citizen-scientists” by monitoring their health prior to developing symptoms, and continuing to do so regularly if they become symptomatic. This information allows researchers to identify when, and how rapidly, mild cases are escalating. Additionally, users have the ability to input information related to education, resources, transportation, and mental health. Columbia University plans to disseminate this information to partner community organizations to more effectively allocate resources throughout the city.
Suzanne Bakken, PhD, professor of biomedical informatics and alumni professor at Columbia Nursing, served as a co-investigator of the app. She said, “As the Director of the NIH-funded Precision in Symptom Self-Management (PriSSM) Center, I’m excited to be contributing expertise and resources in symptom science, information visualization, and community engagement to the CovidWatcher app project.” She added, “This citizen science project is consistent with the school’s commitment to social justice, in that it gathers data about social determinants of health and the impact of COVID-19 on the daily lives of New Yorkers. The interactive visualizations developed through the project will provide public health officials and health care organizations with data to inform their decision making.”
All New Yorkers, even if they are not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, are encouraged to participate. The app, which is now available for download (iOS only), can also be accessed by web.
Learn more about the CovidWatcher App.