Mount Sinai seeks citywide engagement with app to track COVID-19 spread in NYC

To help better understand transmission patterns and help coordinate its own response to the COVID-19 outbreak proliferating across New York City, Mount Sinai Health System has enlisted its own data scientists, engineers and clinicians to develop a new app aimed at halting the spread.


Mount Sinai is seeking citywide engagement with the web-based STOP COVID NYC app, as the city continues to be the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

The app, which is accessed by texting “COVID” to 64722, allows Mount Sinai patients and residents from across New York City to enroll in a program that can help monitor their symptoms.

After filling out an initial survey focused on demographics, exposure and symptom history, app users are then asked to complete subsequent daily surveys about their symptom progressions, which are delivered via text message.

The hope is that data collected from the app will help healthcare professionals at Mount Sinai and elsewhere be more informed about growing clusters of outbreaks in specific communities across the city.

That will enable more efficient allocation of resources as the number of COVID-19 patients increases. The bigger picture goal is for the survey results to better inform public health research into how the virus spreads – and to boost enrollment for future clinical trials and treatment studies.


To develop the app Mount Sinai drew on the know-how of an array of in-house disciplines, including the Departments of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Environmental Medicine and Public Health, Medicine, Pathology, and Radiology, plus the Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Health, the Icahn Institute for Data Science and Genomic Technology, and others.

The health system has long been on the leading-edge of technology-enabled personalized medicine, with recent initiatives including expansion of telehealth to reduce ED visits, efforts to improve the accuracy of deep learning algorithms and support for patients access initiatives such as OpenNotes.


“Most data used to guide clinical decisions for COVID-19 have been generated in China, but with New York City among the cities with the largest number of cases – a number that continues to grow – we see a critical and urgent need to understand more about the clinical course of the disease,” said Dr. Girish Nadkarni, clinical director of the Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Health. “This is a unique opportunity to collect data in a diverse population during an outbreak surge, which could provide powerful predictions of the clinical outcomes of our most vulnerable patients.”

“To do this well, we need our whole city to help, not just those in hospitals or with access to health care,” said Laura Huckins, assistant professor of genetics and genomic sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and a leader on the project. “Capturing citywide coronavirus data from residents before, during, and after they become ill could help to reduce the pressure on medical resources and contribute to slowing the spread.”

“We want feedback from as many people as possible, including those who are healthy and sick, young and old,” added team lead Paul O’Reilly, associate professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences at the Icahn School. “This is a survey about New Yorkers, for New Yorkers.”

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
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