About T COVID-19 app

The COVID-19 pandemic created a completely novel situation for citizens and governments alike. As the country soon went into lockdown, the governments faced an added challenge of ensuring that assistance was provided remotely as much as possible. This led to technology being leveraged in innovative ways to ease pressure on strained resources, educate citizens and ensure timely medical help was provided to those who needed it the most. 

In an effort to mitigate the health crisis, the Telangana government launched the T COVID-19 app. From a live COVID tracker to information on quarantine and testing facilities, the app soon became a single reliable resource on everything related to COVID-19 for residents of the state. A standout feature of the app was the COVID-19 self-assessment tool developed by Freshworks. This tool helped deflect a huge volume of patient enquiries from the State’s stretched health system and became a vital asset in the government’s COVID-19 response. 

Drafting a comprehensive State-wide COVID response

The COVID-19 pandemic placed immense stress on the state of Telangana’s public health infrastructure. Since there was still limited information on the virus, many residents were concerned about the symptoms and often visited hospitals regardless of the severity of their symptoms. 

This posed a major risk for three main reasons:

  • Limited resources meant that doctor consultations and hospital check-ups had to be reserved for only serious cases. Milder cases of COVID-19 could be monitored from home but individuals were often worried and would visit clinics or hospitals even if their condition was not serious.
  • In-person tests and medical consultations increased the risk of exposure and spread of the virus. Even if a person had tested negative or had mild COVID, coming into contact with others could put both parties at increased risk. This could lead to the positive cases in Telangana going up even further and thus placing even more stress on the health system. 
  • The public was uncertain about what the exact symptoms of COVID-19 were. Without a proper assessment of symptoms and risk factors, individuals might not realize they had COVID, could seek medical treatment too late and could unwittingly put countless others at risk. 

Faced with these challenges, the IT branch of the Telangana Government conceptualized a technology-driven approach to spread public awareness of the disease and ease pressure off the healthcare workers. 

Delivering reliable medical assessments through automation

When deploying a robust COVID-19 response, time was of the essence. With each day, cases were rising and citizens needed a safe way to access accurate information and keep themselves protected. The government’s main priority was to develop the self-assessment tool in record time so they could make it available to residents of Telangana without any delays. Freshworks was a reputed name, had a proven track record of developing intelligent automated bots and was the clear choice to support the Telangana government with its ambitious plan. 

The team at Freshworks developed an automated self-assessment tool based on WHO guidelines. To make the self-assessment tool even simpler to use, three languages were supported - Telugu (the local language), Hindi and English. The bot-assisted tool would take users through a series of questions around three main categories:

  • Symptoms: Respondents could select if they were experiencing symptoms like fever, coughing, sore throat, gastrointestinal issues, etc.
  • Exposure: The bot would ask respondents for their international travel history and whether they had come into contact with anyone who was COVID positive recently. 
  • Medical history: To detect whether the respondent was high-risk, the bot would ask them to list out any existing health conditions they had.

Based on the responses, the bot would deduce whether the respondent was likely to have COVID and if they did, whether it was safe for them to home quarantine or if they required medical attention. Respondents with severe symptoms and comorbidities were immediately identified as high-risk. These individuals would then be provided with details of the nearest testing centres approved by the Telangana government so they could be treated. In this way, only those patients who urgently required medical treatment were escalated, so that doctors, nurses and testing facilities could be optimally utilized. 

Expanding the capabilities of telemedicine

In her role as the Sales Lead, Denitsa was able to create campaigns on Freshdesk Messaging that bring in new customers through chat. She set up proactive trigger messages that were informative and witty to capture the attention of new website visitors. 

“Testing becomes an important aspect of fighting COVID-19 and as the healthcare system is stretched, it is great to have an automated system in the palm of your hands to help people self-diagnose and go to hospitals only if at risk.”

Jayesh Ranjan

Secretary, Information Technology (IT)

Government of Telangana