Northern Ireland Department of Health

a new mobile app built in just two weeks

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30th March 2020

The Northern Ireland Department of Health has launched a new Covid-19 mobile app commissioned and delivered in just two weeks by Civica and Big Motive. 

The app is dedicated to providing people across Northern Ireland with immediate advice and links to vital trusted information, as the pandemic evolves. 

One of the first dedicated tools of its kind in the UK and Ireland, the app is simple to download and has three core functions:

- an in-app symptom checker for Covid-19 leading the user to appropriate medical advice and onward links to further information

- a chat bot with natural language interface to answer users’ questions which will be enhanced and expanded with time, usage and feedback

- a push notification service with the ability to push messages out to user devices alerting people such as to changes to official status or advice.

By providing early and easily accessible advice to the public, and information on whether someone may need to speak to a healthcare professional, the app should help with easing pressure on GP surgeries, pharmacies and other community services. 

Health Minister Robin Swann praised the unparalleled speed of delivery of this important resource by the Department of Health’s Digital Team, Civica and Big Motive. He said: “I recognise that people in Northern Ireland need access to up to date information at this worrying time and this vital initiative will complement all the other work we are doing across our health and care services.

“This is an important resource for those who need local information quickly. We expect the app will also help us track the impact of Covid-19, which will assist us in planning and directing services and support to the best of our ability.”

Mark Owens, Managing Director of Civica Northern Ireland, added: “We are committed to doing all we can to assist the national effort. Our brief was to provide a trusted single source of information dedicated to providing the population of Northern Ireland with immediate advice and I’m delighted we could turn this around so rapidly thanks to the skill and dedication of the Department of Health, Big Motive and our team who are determined to do their best to support our health services.”