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J Med Internet Res ; 23(2): e25283, 2021 02 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1573903


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 outbreak has affected the lives of millions of people by causing a dramatic impact on many health care systems and the global economy. This devastating pandemic has brought together communities across the globe to work on this issue in an unprecedented manner. OBJECTIVE: This case study describes the steps and methods employed in the conduction of a remote online health hackathon centered on challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It aims to deliver a clear implementation road map for other organizations to follow. METHODS: This 4-day hackathon was conducted in April 2020, based on six COVID-19-related challenges defined by frontline clinicians and researchers from various disciplines. An online survey was structured to assess: (1) individual experience satisfaction, (2) level of interprofessional skills exchange, (3) maturity of the projects realized, and (4) overall quality of the event. At the end of the event, participants were invited to take part in an online survey with 17 (+5 optional) items, including multiple-choice and open-ended questions that assessed their experience regarding the remote nature of the event and their individual project, interprofessional skills exchange, and their confidence in working on a digital health project before and after the hackathon. Mentors, who guided the participants through the event, also provided feedback to the organizers through an online survey. RESULTS: A total of 48 participants and 52 mentors based in 8 different countries participated and developed 14 projects. A total of 75 mentorship video sessions were held. Participants reported increased confidence in starting a digital health venture or a research project after successfully participating in the hackathon, and stated that they were likely to continue working on their projects. Of the participants who provided feedback, 60% (n=18) would not have started their project without this particular hackathon and indicated that the hackathon encouraged and enabled them to progress faster, for example, by building interdisciplinary teams, gaining new insights and feedback provided by their mentors, and creating a functional prototype. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides insights into how online hackathons can contribute to solving the challenges and effects of a pandemic in several regions of the world. The online format fosters team diversity, increases cross-regional collaboration, and can be executed much faster and at lower costs compared to in-person events. Results on preparation, organization, and evaluation of this online hackathon are useful for other institutions and initiatives that are willing to introduce similar event formats in the fight against COVID-19.

COVID-19/therapy , Delivery of Health Care/organization & administration , Internet , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(5)2021 03 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1134153


Briefly before the first peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Berlin, Germany, schools closed in mid-March 2020. Following re-opening, schools resumed operation at a reduced level for nine weeks. During this phase, we aimed at assessing, among students and teachers, infection status, symptoms, individual behaviour, and institutional infection prevention measures. Twenty-four primary and secondary school classes, randomly selected across Berlin, were examined. Oro-nasopharyngeal swabs and capillary blood samples were collected to determine SARS-CoV-2 infection (PCR) and specific IgG (ELISA), respectively. Medical history, household characteristics, leisure activities, fear of infection, risk perception, hand hygiene, facemask wearing, and institutional preventive measures were assessed. Descriptive analysis was performed. Among 535 participants (385 students, 150 staff), one teenager was found to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 (0.2%), and seven individuals exhibited specific IgG (1.3%). Compared to pre-pandemic times, screen time (e.g., TV, gaming, social media) increased, and the majority of primary school students reported reduced physical activity (42.2%). Fear of infection and risk perception were relatively low, acceptance of adapted health behaviors was high. In this post-lockdown period of low SARS-CoV-2 incidence in Berlin, individual and school-level infection prevention measures were largely adhered to. Nevertheless, vigilance and continued preventive measures are essential to cope with future pandemic activity.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Berlin , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Perception , Schools