Actively Recruiting (Updated: April 15, 2020)

Text to Test for Covid19

Created over 1 year ago
28 Volunteers

About the Project


SMS chatbot to prescreen potential covid-19 sufferers (based on existing protocols). Update: We shipped product in 3 days.

Join our Slack Group:

Existing health services are overwhelmed by inquiries (web, phone, ER, etc). Many are false positives (feel sick, but not covid-19). This takes testing resources away from true positives (feel sick and positive for covid-19).

In British Columbia, Canada, our current health service provider takes about a day to reply from a human SMS operator. A chatbot is a practical application because the task is repetitive and follows a sequential set of rules.

Inform concerned citizens at scale and reduce the burden on healthcare professionals.

Solution (MVP):
Supplement human-operated SMS with a chatbot, which follows the same self-assessment protocol. In Canada, the self-assessment tool is near-identical across all provinces:

This SMS solution can be customized for your own regional health authorities. We are looking to expand to other communication channels (e.g. Whatsapp, messenger, Intercom, etc.)

User texts “I feel sick” to (587)210-2300. The ~8 question screening tool is based on Yes/No replies (boolean).

To programmatically apply if/else statements, we're using Twilio Autopilot/functions.

This is the abridged version of the ~8 question survey:
1. Are you experiencing severe difficult Breathing...Y/N
2. Are you experiencing shortness of breath...Y/N
3. Do you have any of the following: Fever, cough,...Y/N
4A. Were you exposed to someone who has been confirmed as having COVID-19 within 14 days of your symptoms starting? Y/N
5A. Did you travel outside Canada within 14 days of your symptoms starting? Y/N
6A. Have you been in close contact with someone with respiratory illness in the past 14 days? Y/N
7A. Had that person traveled outside of Canada within the past 28 days? Y/N
8A. In the past 14 days have you returned from travel to any other locations outside of Canada? Y/N

The current protocol has 3 possible outcomes:
1. Forward to 911 (emergency services)
2. Forward to 811 (non emergency info line; your region may differ)
3. No testing required.

After building a proof of concept, share it and/or give it away to your local/regional authorities for free. We may request large organizations (e.g. government/corporations) to cover ongoing maintenance costs ($/SMS).

After 72 hours, we have launched the SMS - Congrats, team Covid9teen!

Product Development:
• Expand to other channels (e.g. Whatsapp, Messenger, intercom, etc)
• Shortcode SMS (e.g. Text "I feel sick" to 123123). Note: Applications for shortcode SMS take over a month for approval and costs >$1000. Source:
• Calculate the probability of a user having Covid-19 by taking the users input (e.g. symptoms, location, age, etc) and comparing it with known symptoms provided by the WHO. Source:

Benefits to you:
• Skills in chatbot development
• Product manage your own region
• Potential Machine learning applications
• Join the fight against Covid-19

How far along is it

Within 72 hours, our International team launched the SMS service on March 29th. We're now live in Canada and Australia.

Project target location
We partner with State/Provincial governments to supplement online self assessment tools

Help Needed

Tasks that need to get done

Looking to expand:
• Product (Whatsapp, Messenger, Voice, slack, website, etc)
• Geography (different states/provinces/countries)

Project details

Who is already working on this

Machine Learning (MIT)
Economics (UWA)
Twilio developer (HTML/CSS/js/Python)

Helpful links

How to get in touch
Number of volunteers needed
Preferred Volunteer location
Organization status
Not specified