Two apps developed by Digital Health and Care NI (DHCNI), the data and technology lead to the health and social care system in Northern Ireland, have been named Digital DNA Mobile apps of the year 2021.
The COVIDCare NI and StopCOVID NI apps have made a significant positive contribution to battling the pandemic in Northern Ireland.
The COVIDCare NI app was the first symptom checker app for Covid-19 in the UK providing immediate advice and links to trusted information on Covid-19. In turn, the StopCOVID NI app was the first proximity app issued in the UK. It was designed to alert users if they have been in close contact with other users who had tested positive for COVID-19.
Both products were developed by Digital Health and Care NI in partnership with Health and Social Care, the Public Health Agency and the Department of Health as part of the digital response to Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.
As with the recently launched COVIDCert NI app, the team at DHCNI have developed a collaborative approach that brings together the best in the public and private sector to provide timely digital responses to support HSCNI.
The COVIDCare NI and StopCOVID NI apps are perfect examples, involving input from CIVICA, NearForm, Big Motive, Expleo Ireland and ITGuarded.
Chief Digital Information Officer in the Department of Health, Dan West said: “Winning this prestigious Award is a great honour and a true acknowledgement of the energy and hard work put in by the team to deliver the apps.
“We know that the apps are already proving to be a valuable source of information and support and we hope that as a result of this award we’ll see even more people downloading the apps to help them.
“The StopCOVID NI app has been downloaded over 600k times since its launch, while the COVIDCare NI app has been downloaded over 178k times.
“We continue to update the app with new features based on feedback from citizens in Northern Ireland and will continue to ensure users get access to the most up to date headlines and changes in the advice and guidance.”
Dr Edward O’Neill, Director CCS Solution, Department of Health NI said: “The interoperability developed, sharing information with the proximity app in Ireland, was a world first. These impressive achievements could only have been delivered through partnership working with the private sector companies (CIVICA, NearForm, Big Motive, Expleo Ireland and ITGuarded). Everyone involved showed huge commitment and worked long hours to help the public in NI cope with the pandemic.”
Larry Breen, Head of Health and Life Sciences at NearForm said; “Working with the brilliant DHCNI Team in conjunction with the various project partners, it was amazing to see how rapidly the project was brought to life and delivered, in response to the rapidly evolving pandemic.
Mark Owens, Civica Managing Director (NI) said: “It’s been a privilege to work alongside DHCNI and its partners to develop COVIDCare NI, a widely used app which has played a crucial role in helping reduce the spread of the virus and ultimately save lives.
“This award is richly deserved and is a testament to the leadership and innovation demonstrated by DHCNI during an unprecedented global crisis.”
Damian Cranney, Managing Director, Big Motive said: “We have been privileged to work with DHCNI, spearheading a citizen-centred approach to design for the Covid-19 response. We enjoyed a truly unique partnership with a cast of expert collaborators and a multi-disciplined stakeholder team, charged with combatting the virus, breaking chains of transmission, and ultimately saving lives. We are delighted that DHCNI has been recognised with this award.”
Phil Codd, Managing Director, Expleo Ireland, said: “Our expert teams were honoured to carry out the software testing and quality assurance for the StopCOVID NI app.
“The app is regularly updated to give the most recent information about the spread of COVID-19. It is so easy to use, and as a result, we were thrilled to see a phenomenal number of downloads.
“Working in tandem with the COVID tracker in the Republic of Ireland, it has enabled communities on both sides of the border to work together to stem the spread of the virus across the entire island.”
Jonathan Meehan, Technical Director of IT Guarded Ltd, a UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) Accredited Service Provider said: “We were delighted to have worked with DHCNI in the provision of cyber security penetration testing assurance services of both mobile applications prior to going live. Congratulations on the well-deserved award.”
“With strong leadership and collaboration at the heart of these projects, it was inspiring to see the level of cooperation and sharing between various governments, as we all focused on protecting our populations from the worst of this Virus. NearForm are delighted to see the efforts of all involved, but especially the DHCNI Team, get recognised through this award.”
Simon Bailie, Digital DNA CEO said: “The Digital DNA Awards are the gold standard of awards for the local tech industry. For the DHCNI Team to come out on top of a very competitive field of apps developed over the past 12 months is a fantastic recognition of the collaborative approach the team and their partners adopted to deliver the apps under extreme pressures.”
The Digital DNA Awards celebrate the very best tech talent from companies of all sizes, who are excelling in the world of Digital and Tech. Developers, engineers and entrepreneurs, alongside start-ups and project teams were all recognised at the very first hybrid awards ceremony to be held in Northern Ireland.
StopCOVID NI – (600,021downloads)
Since its launch has helped notify 45,265 citizens that they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, allowing them to self-isolate at the earliest opportunity, helping to break chains of transmission.
COVIDCare NI (178,046 downloads)
At its peak, during the first wave, there 6,000 daily journeys though the app, with people checking symptoms and getting information about COVID. This played a vital part in reducing the pressure on the 111 helpline at that time. The introduction of the app resulted in daily 111 calls dropping from 6,000 to 1,000.