UR makes COVID-19 self-screening technology available to nation’s employers
Employers across the country can advance reopening efforts with technology developed by the University of Rochester to check employees for potential COVID-19 symptoms before they report to work each day.
Software code at the heart of a “Dr. Chatbot” screening tool, first created for internal use among health care workers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), is now available free as open source software.
Since April 9, about 9,000 URMC employees have been using the chatbot daily to self-check for COVID-19 symptoms before they report to work. UR’s chatbot technology also is the foundation of a “ROC COVID” community screening tool recently launched in 13 counties in the Finger Lakes region to track potential new outbreaks of COVID-19 cases.
The technology was developed by the University of Rochester Health Lab, which works to help transform care delivery through the use of smartphone mobile applications, virtual and augmented reality technologies, and the use of artificial intelligence.
“We developed Dr. Chatbot as an efficient way to screen front-line health workers each day and reduce the potential spread of infection inside our medical center,” said Stephen Dewhurst, vice dean for research at the UR’s School of Medicine and Dentistry. “Based on tremendous interest in our technology from other universities and employers of all types, we realize that our tool can be beneficial far beyond our institution in fighting the spread of COVID-19. We are giving away our code for free to all employers who can use it as a way of giving back during this health crisis.”
Michael Hasselberg, co-director of the University of Rochester Health Lab, called the screening tool a great success story for the project team led by senior software developer Daniel Hudy.
“Our chatbot technology gives employers an incredibly simple-to-use and convenient front-end solution to help keep their workplaces safe and healthy,” Hasselberg said. “It will be especially beneficial in New York state, where Governor Andrew Cuomo requires employers to have a system in place for checking employees’ health before they can reopen.”