CovidCare: Helping hospitals in the COVID-19 crisis
Originally published on March 24, 2020 by Patrick Gebhardt
Last updated on March 31, 2020 • 6 minute read
Click here for a German version of this blog post.
The current crisis surrounding the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the cause of COVID-19, has had an effect on us as both individuals and as a company. A week ago, our entire team began working remotely from home so that we can stay healthy and maintain the high standards of productivity that our customers are used to. But "staying safe and sound" was not enough for us as employees of Paessler AG; Dirk Paessler, our founder, wanted to go further and use his knowledge and data-driven instincts to develop a tool that would help hospitals and clinics in the current crisis to estimate potential case numbers. To this end, he launched a hackathon last weekend, and we present the result to you here.
How it all began
It all started when Prof. Dr. Harald Dormann, the head physician of the emergency department at the hospital in Fürth, asked Dirk if he could create a small application to estimate the expected rush of inpatients and intensive care patients to his hospital, and especially to the emergency department. The underlying, very realistic fear: the clinic could run out of intensive care beds due to an unknown number of coronavirus patients; every other hospital in Germany is currently facing the same issue. The state-wide data is unsuitable for the detailed planning of hospitals at the community level, because the virus outbreak has progressed differently in each region of Germany (and Europe) and the rush, in particular for intensive care units, must therefore be calculated separately for each region.
On the afternoon of Friday March 20, Dirk put version 2 online as a spreadsheet. It immediately garnered great interest on the internet - more than 2,000 people visited the website within 24 hours. Also on Friday, Dirk initiated the aforementioned hackathon. The Paessler Board of Directors supported the project wholeheartedly, and within 2 hours we had virtually gathered more than 20 internet and software specialists who wanted to help – no matter how, whether during working hours or in their free time – in a slack channel. Everyone wanted to do something in this time of crisis!
Let us present: CovidCare
CovidCare offers hospital managers, doctors and other health care personnel the possibility of predicting potential scenarios based on a case number analysis. Special focus is placed on the required emergency room capacity, inpatient supplies, as well as intensive care and ventilation resources.
☝️ An important note: This online service was created with great care but also under extreme time pressure. We are very confident that the calculations provide useful insights and results – but cannot guarantee it. Also, the assumptions formulated in the calculation model are essentially based on the information published to date by renowned scientists and are subject to further changes. Therefore, please check all calculated results for your specific input data for plausibility. You, the user, determine how good the results are based on the quality of your input data. The underlying algorithm of the tool is simple and documented here.
We hope that CovidCare will make a small but valuable contribution to the great challenge that we are now facing, not only in Germany, but globally. We can only achieve this if everyone gives their best! CovidCare is not a product of Paessler AG, but Paessler AG has participated in its development. Therefore, we do not offer support and ask you to contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
😍 Finally, once again a special thanks to all involved, most (not all) of them employees of Paessler AG: Without you and your incredible dedication, this project could not have been realized in such a short time!