Boston Children's Hospital chief innovation officer helps build coronavirus tracking website

Boston Children’s Hospital Chief Innovation Officer and epidemiologist John Brownstein, MD, collaborated with volunteers to develop a coronavirus tracking website, according to CNBC.

Dr. Brownstein was contacted by Prem Ramaswami, head of product at Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs. After feeling sick, Mr. Ramaswami was denied a COVID-19 test because he had not been in contact with someone who tested positive. This motivated him to develop a tracking website.

The two were inspired by a website monitoring the spread of influenza, known as “flunearyou.” Dr. Brownstein and Mr. Ramaswami decided to co-develop the underlying technology for COVID-19 monitoring.

After consulting with other volunteers from Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and other tech companies, they were able to launch covidnearyou.com.

Dr. Brownstein is asking 100,000 people to use the website so the website can fill gaps in reporting. If a person using the website is healthy, they will be asked to fill out their gender, age, ZIP code and if they received the flu vaccine. For people feeling sick, they will be asked to describe their symptoms.

The team hopes to add more information about COVID-19 as medical professionals release more data. Dr. Brownstein also confirmed that the data from the website will be shared with public health groups and not technology companies.

More articles on innovation:
Providence, Microsoft & more building COVID-19 collaborative dataset
Julie Yoo, health tech founder & venture capitalist, on why digital health must cater to women
Stanford physicians, medtech entrepreneurs form COVID-19 digital health task force

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