New App Promises to Cut Through Clutter of Covid-19 Misinformation

September 2, 2020 Updated: September 2, 2020

A new app is looking to arm healthcare professionals and the public with trusted medical information to help them make better decisions about COVID-19 for their patients, families, and themselves in one platform.

The app, called COVID AllKnowledgeEnable (COVID KE), allows users to receive the most relevant findings and advice, by using its artificial intelligence technology to search for multiple peer-reviewed, medical data sources that come with direct physicians’ insights.

The app, created by Real Time Medical (RTM), a Canadian medical software development company, also comes with features including ratings and commentary from physicians that help users determine which articles are the most useful to them. The app, however, also does not trace contact or notify users of exposure to the virus like the COVID-19 app launched by the federal government.

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Podium placards promoting the COVID Alert app are seen on a table on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on July 31, 2020. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

A twitter post by RTM shows how the app integrates videos, articles, images, guidelines and ratings to help users research and educate themselves with current findings on COVID-19.

RTM said it draws information only from trusted sources such as the Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and overlays these with the latest federal health guidelines.

“With a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in multiple jurisdictions in North America and around the world, and the start of a new school year, people need a way to zero-in on the valid scientific data and advice required to keep their families and patients safe—and to cut confidently through the clutter of misinformation,” said Ian Maynard, RTM CEO and Co-Founder in a press release on Sept. 2.

According to RTM, the European Congress of Radiology reported on July 15, that of the 25,000 articles that have emerged about COVID-19 from various data sources, 48 of them were meta-analyses and only 25 were clinical trials after the data was filtered.

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A sign for doctors and nurses is pictured across the street from the Abbotsford Regional Hospital in Abbotsford, B.C., Canada, on April 14, 2020. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

“During this global pandemic, the need for credible, verifiable scientific information and advice is shared by medical professionals, policy-makers and the public, but it’s the public that is facing the biggest threat from misinformation, bad science, and unsound advice,” said Dr. David Koff, RTM’s Chairman and Co-Founder.

“Using the COVID KE app, you’re able to simultaneously scan multiple health data sources from around the world in seconds, which then also combines those findings with the latest recommendations from healthcare professionals around the world to make the best decisions for your family—on the go,” Koff continued.

However, Koff told CTV that the app does not seek to replace advice of doctors when people become sick.

“We don’t want to replace medical consultation. People still have to talk to their medical physician because each case is different. You cannot cater to all, even if you have the best information,” Koff said.

“What works for you may not work for someone else so you have to still go to your doctor if you are sick.”

The app will be available for download on iPhone, Android and desktop on Sept. 4, said RTM.

COVID KE is developed with the support from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP).

According to the official website, the NRC IRAP has collaborated with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, and Innovative Solutions Canada to provide financial support to small and medium sized Canadian businesses who can provide solutions that meet a COVID-19 related need.