BOSTON, March 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Buoy Health (Buoy), the AI-powered navigation platform providing consumers with real-time personalized clinical support, announced today that it has begun socializing its epidemiological data around coronavirus symptom trends, including those that appeared prior to public COVID-19 case confirmation by state authorities. The data from Buoy Assistant, the company's free risk-assessment and triage tool, is being shared with organizations and public officials to help control the rising epidemic in the United States.
"We provide a unique data set both within and outside of epidemics because we essentially measure the unmeasured," said Andrew Le, MD, CEO and co-founder, Buoy. "Our data shows a user's pre-intent when it comes to making healthcare decisions, i.e. what happens before someone actually decides to go to the doctor. This data has previously been untouched in the medical field––electronic health records and claims data certainly don't capture this. Buoy has the power to help close major gaps in the care continuum by helping to influence consumer behavior at the true front door of care."
In early February 2020, Buoy began incorporating coronavirus recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention into Buoy Assistant to help identify users at higher risk of COVID-19. To date, users who present symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19 are screened for epidemiologic and medical risk factors that increase the likelihood of infection, severe disease and complications, and those who confirm alarming symptoms of severe illness are referred to emergency care.
"From a public health standpoint, we also want to ensure we're addressing the needs of users who are less likely to have COVID-19, but in whom a mild or early case of COVID-19 can't be ruled out," said Sarah Hassonjee, MD, medical researcher, Buoy. "To do this, we've identified areas of overlap between the less common COVID-19 symptoms and those of other illnesses. For users who complete an interview and are told that the common cold or influenza could explain their symptoms, we also note that a mild COVID-19 infection can't be ruled out. From there, they're provided with additional information to keep themselves and others safe and reduce the spread of disease."
When the first case was confirmed in the state of Wash. Jan. 21, 2020, Buoy's data science team turned to its data repository and found that, prior to the case being publicly confirmed, Wash. had a significantly higher increase in coronavirus symptoms relative to the rest of the country according to usage trends within the AI platform. Buoy has continued to track users at risk for COVID-19 and has identified potential cases in nearly half the country prior to them being publicly confirmed including Ala., Ark., Colo., Conn., Del., Fla., Ind., Ky., Md., Minn., N.Y., Ohio, Pa., S.D., Tenn., Texas, and Va. In response, Buoy has implemented an alert system to identify coronavirus-related symptoms and risk-factor spikes. To date, Buoy has informed and de-escalated 87 percent of users who came to the platform with COVID-19-related concerns but did not present relevant risk factors and/or symptoms of serious COVID-19 infection.
"Right now, our data strategy is focused on helping Americans who could potentially be infected with COVID-19," said Darin Baumgartel, head of data engineering and analytics, Buoy. "As the virus continues to spread, we're keeping track of trends in the number of people we have screened, and those who expressed concerns about coronavirus, as well as those who receive coronavirus specific triage advice. We also track rises in reported symptoms that will be integral to informing the public and ensuring that people are going to the right venues for care. This way, as a nation, we can fight the unmanageable wait lines and backed-up call centers."
"As the virus continues to rapidly progress, effective triage and reassurance for individuals who can safely manage symptoms at home will be of utmost importance," said John Fangman, MD, infectious disease physician, Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin. "Keeping people at home and making them feel connected to care will be invaluable for all in preventing the spread of the outbreak."
If you or someone you know is concerned about possibly contracting COVID-19, visit www.buoy.com. Buoy Assistant is free and can be used anytime.
About Buoy Health
Buoy is a digital health company developed out of the Harvard Innovation Labs by a team of doctors and data-scientists, aimed at providing personalized clinical support through technology to individuals the moment they have a healthcare concern. Buoy helps remove the fear and complexity that often confronts people as they enter the system by navigating and engaging patients intelligently. The all-on-one technology is able to deliver triage at scale with transparency, connecting individuals with the right care endpoints at the right time. For more information, please visit www.buoy.com.