Dedicated Northern Ireland Covid-19 app launched

Government and software developers come together to launch new information app for coronavirus

The Department of Health Northern Ireland has launched a new Covid-19 information app.

The app is dedicated to providing people across Northern Ireland with immediate advice and links to vital trusted information and will be updated as the pandemic evolves.

It includes guidance on the symptoms of the coronavirus and supports individuals to identify whether they might potentially have the infection.

We have made this investment knowing that trusted local health guidance is critically important; and we expect the app will also help us track the impact of Covid-19, which will assist us in planning and directing services and supports to the best of our ability

It will also provide advice on what actions people should take if they think they may have COVID-19.

And the information provided will help people decide if they need advice from a health or care professional and how best to access that advice should they need it.

In addition, people can ask specific questions with an Advice Search ‘chatbot’ that automatically reviews all the guidance to find a response to match individual queries.

By providing early and easily-accessible advice to the public, and information on whether someone may need to speak to a healthcare professional; the app should help ease pressure on GP surgeries, pharmacies and other community services.

Health Minister Robin Swann praised the unparalleled speed of delivery of this important resource by Department of Health’s digital team and local companies Civica and Big Motive who were also involved in its development.

He said: “I recognise that people in Northern Ireland need access to up-to-date information at this worrying time and this vital initiative will complement all the other work we are doing across our health and care services.

I cannot stress how unprecedented it is in our industry to produce an App of this nature so quickly and we could not have done it without the skills and dedication of our developers who were determined to do their best to support our amazing NHS

“The pressure on our services is going to be unprecedented and this is an important resource for those who need local information quickly.

“We have made this investment knowing that trusted local health guidance is critically important; and we expect the app will also help us track the impact of Covid-19, which will assist us in planning and directing services and supports to the best of our ability.”

Commenting on its development, Mark Owens, managing director of CIVICA in Northern Ireland, added: “Covid-19 NI is one of the first dedicated tools of its kind in the UK and Ireland and demonstrates that our local Department of Health and the HSC were well ahead of the game in knowing exactly what they wanted and securing it in record time.

“Our brief was to provide a trusted single source of information dedicated to providing the population of Northern Ireland with immediate advice that should ease pressure on GP surgeries, pharmacies and, of course, hospitals.

We all know the pressure on our medical services is going to be extraordinary and we believe this is going to be a critical tool for those who need local information immediately

“I cannot stress how unprecedented it is in our industry to produce an App of this nature so quickly and we could not have done it without the skills and dedication of our developers who were determined to do their best to support our amazing NHS.

“We all know the pressure on our medical services is going to be extraordinary and we believe this is going to be a critical tool for those who need local information immediately.”

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