App provides tailored COVID-19 data for NZ health workers

By Amy Sarcevic
Thursday, 28 May, 2020

App provides tailored COVID-19 data for NZ health workers

The Ministry of Health in New Zealand has released a new mobile phone app to help healthcare workers access up-to-date information about COVID-19.

The Āwhina app will notify health workers when new or updated content is available to them. It will enable users to filter content that is relevant to them and also save content via the app for quicker repeat access.

It follows the recent release of the NZ COVID Tracer app, which is targeted at the wider NZ population and is used solely for contact tracing purposes.

Deputy Director-General Data and Digital Shayne Hunter said there was a clear need to build technology exclusively for healthcare workers during the crisis.

“For many of us, COVID-19 has changed the way we live and work. For those working in the health and disability sector, this is especially true,” he said.

“There is a lot of information health workers need quick access to, like the latest case definitions, clinical care pathways or personal protective equipment guidance. Āwhina gives them access to this information from their mobile device anywhere, anytime.

“Information for health workers is frequently updated based on latest research, advice and changes to alert levels.

“The emergence of COVID-19 and the response required by people working in the health and disability sector highlighted the need for a tool to provide easy access to the up-to-date information relevant to their area of work.

“Digital technology can help ensure a coordinated, national approach and help us achieve better outcomes for everyone. At the moment Āwhina will be used to support the COVID-19 response, but it can be used to get information to health workers to support any public health response.”

The Ministry developed the app via consultation with health sector workers and by learning from overseas approaches. 

Initially the app will be used for communicating information about COVID-19, but its functions may be expanded.

“As we return to our new normal, we can use the app to share other information to help us act in a more cohesive, collective and collaborative style,” said Hunter.

“We hope New Zealanders working in the health and disability sector will find this app useful.”

Image credit: © Kneschke

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