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J Med Internet Res ; 23(6): e27348, 2021 06 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1259301


BACKGROUND: Overcoming the COVID-19 crisis requires new ideas and strategies for online communication of personal medical information and patient empowerment. Rapid testing of a large number of subjects is essential for monitoring and delaying the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in order to mitigate the pandemic's consequences. People who do not know that they are infected may not stay in quarantine and, thus, risk infecting others. Unfortunately, the massive number of COVID-19 tests performed is challenging for both laboratories and the units that conduct throat swabs and communicate the results. OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to reduce the communication burden for health care professionals. We developed a secure and easy-to-use tracking system to report COVID-19 test results online that is simple to understand for the tested subjects as soon as these results become available. Instead of personal calls, the system updates the status and the results of the tests automatically. This aims to reduce the delay when informing testees about their results and, consequently, to slow down the virus spread. METHODS: The application in this study draws on an existing tracking tool. With this open-source and browser-based online tracking system, we aim to minimize the time required to inform the tested person and the testing units (eg, hospitals or the public health care system). The system can be integrated into the clinical workflow with very modest effort and avoids excessive load to telephone hotlines. RESULTS: The test statuses and results are published on a secured webpage, enabling regular status checks by patients; status checks are performed without the use of smartphones, which has some importance, as smartphone usage diminishes with age. Stress tests and statistics show the performance of our software. CTest is currently running at two university hospitals in Germany-University Hospital Ulm and University Hospital Tübingen-with thousands of tests being performed each week. Results show a mean number of 10 (SD 2.8) views per testee. CONCLUSIONS: CTest runs independently of existing infrastructures, aims at straightforward integration, and aims for the safe transmission of information. The system is easy to use for testees. QR (Quick Response) code links allow for quick access to the test results. The mean number of views per entry indicates a reduced amount of time for both health care professionals and testees. The system is quite generic and can be extended and adapted to other communication tasks.

COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/psychology , Communication , Medical Informatics/organization & administration , Medical Informatics/standards , Pandemics , Patient Participation , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Germany , Humans , Time Factors