A little bit about us

Learn a little bit more about who we are and what we're doing

The Team
The Study

MyCOVIDKey Team

Software, Data Science, & Study Team

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Dr. Tom Scherr, PhD
Software Dev, Data Science
Research Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry
Vanderbilt University

Austin Hardcastle
Software Dev, Data Science
Application Developer
Department of Chemistry
Vanderbilt University

Carson Moore
Study team, Data science
PhD Candidate
Department of Chemistry
Vanderbilt University

Jenna DeSousa
Study team, Data science
PhD Candidate
Department of Chemistry
Vanderbilt University

Supporting Faculty & Staff

Dr. David Wright, PhD
Diagnostics, global health
Dean of Graduate Education, Research
Department of Chemistry
Vanderbilt University

Dr. T.S. Harvey, PhD
Global Public Health, Risk Reduction
Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology
Vanderbilt University

Dr. Jonathan Metzl, PhD
Medicine, Health, and Society
Professor
Department of Psychiatry
Vanderbilt University

Jason Bradley
Information technology
Associate Director
Cloud Services
Vanderbilt University

MyCOVIDKey Study

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, entire countries enacted sweeping "stay-at-home" orders. While these actions were broad ranging, their ramifications were felt on state, city, and community levels. This includes the closing of non-essential businesses, and a shift to remote-work for a majority of employees. Similarly, universities across the country closed research laboratories and transitioned to virtual classrooms. As these precautionary measures gradually get relaxed, it is generally understood that there is a need for increased vigilance. This research looks to understand the usefulness and efficacy of a technological tool to meet this need.

Since the early days of the pandemic, contact tracing has been a critical means of identifying potential exposure events. At the outset, it was largely a manual and labor-intensive process: dedicated healthcare workers would interview confirmed-positive COVID incident cases and would gather contact information for exposed people and locations. As case volumes grew, it became clear that technology could assist with this process.

Our approach is one of the many strategies of performing contact tracing that have been proposed. This study seeks to understand the usefulness of our platform and its potential efficacy. At present, it is unclear if risk assessments are viewed by users as one-time use tools, or if they would be palatable as a recurring tool. Furthermore, it's unclear if users would regularly use the "key-in" feature which is critical for contact tracing. This pilot study will answer these questions, as well as get user feedback on how to improve the platform prior to a broader roll-out.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the utility and effectiveness of self-assessments and an event-driven contact tracing application, primarily in a university setting. MyCovidKey is a web application developed by researchers at Vanderbilt University that integrates a recurring COVID-19 self-assessment with automatic contact tracing. Participants will be asked to take a self-assessment that evaluates their risk for COVID-19, every 48 hours, for a six-week period. The participants will also be asked to utilize the "key-in" feature to scan a personalized code at a "scanning station" when they enter specific locations on campus. At the end of 6 weeks, we will ask participants to complete a questionnaire on their experience with the platform.

Pilot Study Results

We want to thank all of our pilot users who signed up, keyed-in, and provided feedback throughout the study!

Our pilot enrolled 45 users who took 227 self-assessments and keyed-in 1410 times in 6 weeks! We are hard at work drafting manuscripts to share our results, so check back soon!