A Symptom Tracking App
The COVID-19 is having a major impact on communities in Australia and around the world. Our fight against COVID-19 is currently compromised because there is so much we don’t know about it. The virus is mutating, the implications of which we don't fully understand, nor can we be sure what the symptoms and impact of COVID-19 are here in Australia. We need to know a lot more about the real-world symptoms, especially what might be early indicators.
If we can get a large number of people in Australia to track their health status every day, then if they get sick with confirmed COVID-19, we can look back on what symptoms or health conditions they had previously reported, at what stage, and hopefully see trends to inform new public health guidelines. As we see patterns in early indicators, we can then start to predict any upsurge in the disease, ahead of formal testing, so as to better inform resource planning.
The Immunisation Coalition is working with the Public Health Information Development Unit (PHIDU) at Torrens University. The analysis of the information will be undertaken by PHIDU, who for more than 20 years have been tracking and reporting on population health in Australia. Biz Hub Australia developed the symptom tracker tool, and provided it at no cost to the Immunisation Coalition.
The Unlocking Australia App is not an alternative to the Australian Government's COVIDSafe app. It is in fact complementary to the Government's app, because it tracks symptoms, while COVIDsafe tracks people. You can find out more about COVIDsafe at https://www.australia.gov.au. There are also other apps that are emerging that track different aspects of COVID-19. All of the information gathered is adding to the scientific knowledge that will ultimately help us manage the disease. The Flu-tracking app is one such tool which has been used in Australia for quite a few years: Flu-tracking
When you register, you will be asked to consent to your de-identified information being used for research and publication.
WHAT WE DO
Helping Australia get back on its feet
HOW IT WORKS
We want you to register to provide information about your health and then to provide an update every day, even if you are feeling fine.
NOTE: It is important that you record even small changes to your health such as a sore throat, because we need to learn about all the possible early symptoms and indicators.
We also want people who have had the virus to tell us about their symptoms and experience.
HOW YOUR INFORMATION IS USED
Your data will help us to:
Discover what are the real-world symptoms of COVID-19, especially the early symptoms
Identify high-risk areas and populations in Australia
Predict areas of new risk
Understand the speed of virus transmission
Understand who is most at risk, by better understanding symptoms linked to a range of underlying health conditions
CHARTS & MAPS
The information provided by people who consent to the use of the data will be analysed by the Public Health Information Development Unit (PHIDU) at Torrens University. A series of charts and maps will be published to show variations across the community.
Information will only be mapped where there are sufficient people or cases in an area to avoid the identification of individuals: that is where there are more than four people/ instances (e.g., numbers with a disease) to report.
All reports and other publications will be made available on, or linked from, this website.
We are taking the following steps to protect your privacy:
We only ask for a first name and email - no other identifying data - these are only for the app to be able to send you reminders and recognise you when you provide updates
We only ask for a suburb, not an address
PHIDU analysis will be on de-identified data, no names or emails will be included in the data being analysed
No application data will be shared with any 3rd party except for the purposes of the analysis by PHIDU
Data stored in a secure Australian data centre
Only de-identified information will be provided to PHIDU to analyse and report on. This means that the information provided to PHIDU will not include the email address, mobile number or personal link you have been provided with which you used to register.
In this project we are replicating the existing Data Privacy controls used by PHIDU in their work receiving and handling large government and community data files. PHIDU employees are trained in the importance of confidentiality and maintaining the privacy and security of information.
Data will not be released or published for a table cell (eg, an age or sex group, a suburb) where there are fewer than five people/instances (eg, numbers with a disease).
How will this app help fight COVID-19?
Discover what the real-world symptoms of COVID-19 are, especially the early symptoms.
Identify high-risk areas and predict new areas of risk in the Australian population.
Understand the speed of virus transmission.
Understand who is most at risk, by better understanding symptoms linked to underlying health conditions.
How can I add a new symptom?
In the app, put any additional symptoms into the “Other symptoms” text area in your daily update.
Where can I get the app?
This is a web browser app which is not available for download. Instead you click on the "Register here" button below which will take you straight to the registration page. The advantages of a web app are that it is faster to update, and a single app is accessible to all devices, ie both for mobile platforms and for PCs, Macs and tablets.
My grandmother doesn’t use computers, but wants to take part. Can I log on for her?
Yes, you can create a unique account for others as long as you have their consent to input their data on their behalf. More than one person can use a single email address or mobile phone number, but each person will receive their own unique login details.
Is there a minimum age to use the app?
How do I contact you to report an error or make a suggestion?
Please use the Contact Us form at the bottom of this page.
How do I unsubscribe or have my data removed?
You can unsubscribe through the app or use the Contact Us form at the bottom of this page to request removal of your data.
I'd like to see what symptoms are reported near me or across the country – how can I see what is going on?
Very soon we will publish information on the website as to the number of people who have registered, by age and sex and the proportion they represent of the population.
Once a large enough number of people have registered we will publish maps of the number and proportion of the population by suburb (smaller suburbs will be grouped) and localities, allowing comparisons across each state and Australia. Information will only be mapped where there are sufficient people or cases in an area to avoid the identification of individuals: that is where there are more than four people / instances (e.g., numbers with a disease) to report.
Why do I need to register with an email?
We need to send you emails to provide your link to the app and to provide daily reminders.
Please note your email address is not provided to PHIDU as part of any information provided for analysis.
Improving Immunisation in Australia
The Immunisation Coalition (IC) is an Australian not for profit organisation, registered as a charity with the ACNC. We work with key Australian professional and consumer groups, and Australian Federal, State and Territory departments of Health and their educational program leaders to create awareness and provide education with regard to vaccine preventable diseases. We have a membership that includes scientific and medical specialists, as well as professionals representing organisations working in immunisation. The IC is a trusted and independent source of information in Australia for health professionals, consumers, and the media. A scientific advisory committee ensures the integrity of the information and resources that are generated by the IC.
The Unlocking Australia app is the property of the Immunisation Coalition.
PUBLIC HEALTH INFORMATION DEVELOPMENT UNIT
Torrens University, SA
Since its establishment in 1999, the Public Health Information Development Unit (PHIDU) has been committed to providing information on a broad range of health and other determinants across the lifespan, with emphasis on the publication of small area statistics:
for monitoring inequality in health and wellbeing, and
for supporting opportunities to improve population health outcomes.
Since 2008, PHIDU has offered free online access to a comprehensive range of current (and some historical) data at national, jurisdictional, regional and small area levels for Australia.
This web-based source of data on health and its determinants is unique in Australia, and has been acknowledged internationally by agencies such as the World Health Organization.
Biz Hub Australia is an R&D company, creating a range of technology to solve real problems in extraordinary ways. They build high-quality enterprise solutions – using mobile devices and spatial concepts as core capabilities – and sponsor the Skyve open-source high-performing low-code enterprise platform (www.skyve.org) which embodies their Capability First approach.
“Although the way ahead is full of pitfalls and difficulties, this is indeed an exhilarating prospect. There is no danger of a shortage of forthcoming excitement in the subject. Yet, as always, the highlights of tomorrow are the unpredictabilities of today.”