Quick and efficient health care can mean the difference between life and death for some COVID-19 patients. When the virus began to sweep the nation in March, C Spire and the University of Mississippi Medical Center knew what they had to do to help Mississippians.
“Within a matter of days, our developers completely redesigned the C Spire Health telemedicine app so that it could be used exclusively for diagnosing and triaging possible cases of COVID-19,” said Brett Rogers, C Spire Director of Product Development. “As quickly as the virus was moving, it had the potential to completely overwhelm our medical community and hospitals. Everyone - from our CTO to the app development team - saw the need to stop the spread and jumped into action.”
The C Spire Health app is normally used by UMMC clinicians to treat minor, non-emergency conditions including cold and flu, nausea, ear infections and migraines. To help end the COVID-19 outbreak, C Spire Health is only serving people with fevers, coughs, respiratory issues or other symptoms related to the disease. And we’re doing it for free.
“This a critical service for the well-being of our community,” said Brett. “That’s why C Spire and UMMC decided to waive the fee and make the telehealth visits free right now.”
In one month, the app has provided more than 4,000 telehealth visits. The C Spire Health site has seen 110,000 visits from people seeking information, and there have been more than 25,000 downloads of the app. We have C Spire’s essential IT team to thank for that.
“I am one of 16 developers and team leaders that converted the app from being a general-use telehealth app to a triage app specifically for those experiencing symptoms for COVID-19,” said Michael Hodges, a C Spire Mobile Apps Developer.
Normally, a development cycle of that magnitude takes a couple of weeks. This group turned it around in a matter of days. “Our team thrives on a unique synergy that’s difficult to find in a lot of other organizations,” said Michael. “It’s why we are able to be so efficient and productive.”
In order to make sure the app is easily accessible to anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, the team simplified the registration and log-in process. They also developed a tool that ensured the UMMC medical staff could easily communicate with their patients, some of whom receive next-day appointments at state drive-through test collection sites.
“In a single night, we wrote a secured application that could easily send thousands of emails and texts, and also store testing locations,” said Jeremy Ingle, a C Spire System Analyst. “We started around 3 p.m. and finished up around 2:30 a.m. the next day.”
The team of developers’ dedication and hard work paid off in a remarkable way. “Being able to help patients early and get them into quarantine is having a significant impact on flattening the curve of infections for our state,” said Jeremy. Of the total drive-through visits for Mississippi, the C Spire Health app has contributed to over 20 percent of the total volume for the state.
“I couldn’t be prouder of this team and its leadership,” said Michael. “Everyone is willing to go that extra mile to make sure our apps are high-quality, work well and are customer inspired.”
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