UK Covid-19 symptoms mapped using health app user data

By Ellen Daniel

Health and wellbeing app Evergreen Life has mapped the prevalence of Covid-19 symptoms across the UK using app user data.

Evergreen Life is an app that allows users to download their GP medical records, access NHS patient services and input other health and wellness data such as blood pressure. Evergreen Life has been working with the NHS since 2015 and is an an NHS-assured patient-facing app.

Using data submitted by users of the Evergreen Life app, a heat map of people with Covid-19 symptoms in the UK has been created, providing insights into the national picture of the outbreak based on those reporting symptoms.

Population data could provide important insights into the spread of the virus, and through the use of AI, could make it possible to predict how it will spread in the future. However, this relies on having access to comprehensive and high-qualilty data, and also brings with it privacy concerns.

The 750,000 users of the app are asked to report if they are self-isolating and if they have a dry cough or a temperature. The information is then anonymised. Users will also be asked to report when they recover.

The initial data is based on 6,573 responses from Evergreen Life app users, and the company has urged more people to download the app in order to create an even more accurate and comprehensive picture of how and where the virus is spreading.

Covid-19 symptoms in the UK: The hotspots

8.9% of respondents, all based in the UK, reported having Covid-19 symptoms, with the majority self-isolating.

The map shows particular hotspots in urban areas, most notably around Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Bristol. The largest hotspot is in London, however, which is consistent with official data.

The data will be made available to all users within the app and others via the Evergreen Life website, and the company hopes that it will support government strategy.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool will also analyse the data as part of the Liverpool Malawi COVID19 taskforce.

Stephen Critchlow, Founder of Evergreen Life said:

“We believe that providing a clear picture will help people to make the best possible decisions – like understanding the importance of self-isolation and social distancing, and how to do it.”

“Evergreen Life has been working tirelessly with the NHS as the virus has spread to develop services to help our app users, and the NHS, prepare and respond to the outbreak.”

As well as contributing to the research, users can access their NHS records and share them with other healthcare service providers and order prescriptions, which may help streamline such processes at a time of great pressure for the NHS.

Read more: Hannah Fry: Data could help control UK coronavirus outbreak.

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