BMJ reports that Covid-19 symptom checkers are viewed positively and reduce the burden on healthcare providers
A study of students at a University in Canada has concluded that Covid-19 symptom checkers make a positive contribution to the management of the pandemic. In a qualitative study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), a cohort of students was interviewed regarding their use of online COVID-19 symptom-check tools.
The results showed that people are motivated to use symptom checkers for the following main reasons:
(1) presence of symptoms or a combination of symptoms, (2) knowledge about COVID-19 symptoms, (3) fear of seeking in-person healthcare services, (4) awareness about symptom checkers, (5) paranoia and (6) curiosity.
The use of remote online services has seen significant uptake during the pandemic, and the study suggests that one of the reasons for this is the perceived risk of infection associated with in-person healthcare services.
Not only that, but there’s also the risk of someone who thinks they may have symptoms passing on infection, by personally visiting a healthcare centre. The key to mitigating risk is to control the risk at source. Identifying people who pose a risk and instructing them to self-isolate is a valid control-measure.
The study concludes that symptom checkers have the potential to reduce the burden on healthcare systems and health professionals, especially during pandemics.
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