25 June 2020
A new free-to-download app to help people navigate the coronavirus pandemic, designed and made in Bristol, has been launched for Apple and Android devices. The Coronavirus Support App (UK) has been created by Expert Self Care, alongside an interdisciplinary team of volunteers and eight partner organisations, including NIHR ARC West.
People need easy access to reliable information to avoid getting infected with coronavirus, reduce the risk of giving it to other people, know what to do if they do get ill and cope with the practical, social and financial consequences of the pandemic.
The Coronavirus Support App is aimed at people in the UK aged 16 and over who would like to learn more about coronavirus and COVID-19. Accurate information can help people to protect themselves, the people close to them and the wider public, and reduce avoidable pressure on the NHS.
The app aims to help by giving users easy and quick access to evidence-informed information about coronavirus and COVID-19 all in one place, even when offline. It also signposts to reliable, trusted sources of information.
It answers key questions like who is at risk, what the symptoms are and how to stay healthy during lockdown. It also offers advice for a range of situations, including for anyone feeling anxious, at risk of domestic violence and abuse, or in need of medical treatment.
Project Lead Dr Knut Schroeder, a practising GP and Founder of Expert Self Care, said:
“In the current coronavirus crisis, reliable information is more important than ever. We designed this app to bring together all the best sources of information to support people during the pandemic and beyond. False information leads to rumours and myths that can hamper public health efforts, which may result in preventable disease and deaths.
“We haven’t received any external funding for this app and it’s available to download for free, so we are grateful to the team of volunteers who have made this app possible. They have been amazing during a very difficult time for everyone.”
Expert Self Care is an award-winning Bristol-based health information app provider certified by the NHS England Information Standard as a provider of reliable health information. The app’s content has been created by a team of volunteers made up of UK health professionals, topic experts and members of the public. Development partners include the Self Care Forum, the Patient Information Forum, the National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration West (NIHR ARC West) and Imperial College London.
Zoe Trinder-Widdess, Communications Manager at NIHR ARC West, who was part of the editorial team behind the app, said:
“With lockdown easing, many people may feel less worried about the coronavirus pandemic. But as we go back to work, school and socialising – all at a safe distance – up to date information about what’s allowed or what to do if you become unwell is as vital as ever.
“Trying to get this app published has been an interesting process. Both Apple and Google are rightly being very cautious about the quality of the coronavirus-related apps they allow on their platforms. I am pleased that our app has met their stringent guidelines and can be used as a trusted source of reliable information by the public.”