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Steve Breinholt, KSL TV, File

Intermountain Healthcare launches online COVID-19 symptom checker

By Graham Dudley, | Posted - Mar. 20, 2020 at 3:34 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — Intermountain Healthcare announced Friday it is rolling out a new online tool that will help Utahns determine if they might have COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

The COVID-19 Symptom Checker is free, powered by artificial intelligence, and uses the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, Intermountain said.

The tool launched Thursday about 7:30 p.m. according to Susan Tew, Intermountain assistant vice president of consumer digital solutions.

"The only way to know for sure if you have COVID is to be tested," Tew said. But the tool can help Utahns determine if they are a good candidate for testing and direct them toward medical attention, she said.

The tool appears in a banner at the bottom of the Intermountain site; when clicked on, a small pop-up opens and a bot named "Scout" walks users through a series of questions. It will ask questions like, "Do you have a cough?" and "Have you recently traveled to an area of high risk for COVID-19?"

The symptom checker can direct users to the next best step after completing the questions, Tew said. More severe symptoms may require immediate medical attention.

It also contains an option to simply learn more about COVID-19, including what the symptoms are and how to prevent it.

"Right now, there isn't a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, but researchers are trying to develop one," Scout says. "To reduce the risk of catching the COVID-19 infection, you can protect yourself by using everyday preventive actions that help prevent the spread of many viruses" like washing your hands and not touching your face.

The tool is now featured prominently on the Intermountain home page, as well as its app and social media pages. Tew said the tool has already been used many times in the hours since it's gone online and that 96% of users have completed the entire screening.

A COVID-19 information hotline is also available at 844-442-5224.

"The COVID-19 Symptom Checker is designed to simplify the process of addressing your health concerns, help you take the best action, and access the right care," said Kevin Mabbutt, Intermountain's chief consumer officer, in a news release. "This digital tool is especially important with COVID-19 because of the need to get symptoms checked out simply and quickly while maintaining social distancing.”

As of Friday afternoon, Utah had 112 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Graham Dudley

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