In a moment like this, everyone wants to help. But we’re not doctors or scientists — it’s not like we have the ability to save lives here.

Or do we? Turns out we do know our way around the Internet (👋 Hi Upstatement here! We build digital brands & products). If there’s one thing we know, it’s how to create valuable digital stuff. And fast.

So when we connected with three initiatives that desperately needed our help, we rolled up our sleeves and jumped right in. This is the first story in a three-part series about products we’ve designed and launched to help contain COVID-19.

  1. 👩‍⚕️️ COVID Protocols: Helps doctors make life-saving decisions by putting fast-changing best practices in the palm of their hand. In association with Brigham & Women’s Hospital.
  2. 💜 PathCheckA privacy-first contact tracing app that could help us flatten the curve and get back to normal. In association with MIT, Path Check Inc., and others. Read more about it here.
  3. 🔵 ZeroThink of it like Yelp for COVID-19 safety. Find the local businesses that are doing the most to keep you safe. When you have to go out, do it with confidence. In association with many others.

It’s been an honor to contribute to all three. Here’s the story behind our collaboration with the doctors at Brigham & Women’s Hospital to build apps for iOS/Android and launch covidprotocols.org.

⚠️ The Problem

No established protocols exist for treating patients suffering from COVID-19 across a range of scenarios. Most of the time, doctors diagnose conditions that have well-known standards of care and procedures to respond with. But COVID-19 is a brand new virus.

💬 The Story

A group of clinicians at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston (led by the indefatigable Dr. C. Lee Cohen) recognized the problem and started a giant Google Doc that authors used to define treatment guidelines, debating and gathering consensus along the way. It was a hit. The original document got so crowded with visitors that it crashed. As knowledge accumulated, it also became nearly impossible to navigate or find critical information.

💡 The Solution

The new apps and website provide the definitive standards of care, which change daily as doctors learn from experience. We built on top of what already worked. Doctors don’t have time to learn some fancy content management system, so we let them continue using Google Docs — their preferred authoring tool.

We helped BWH improve their organizational scheme and connect their data to a clean, searchable knowledge base. The site is a lightning-quick static site that performs even behind the slowest hospital VPNs and WiFi. It’s optimized for mobile, where most healthcare professionals access the protocols.

What’s Next

Over the coming weeks, we’re planning to develop iOS and Android apps that make it even faster and easier for healthcare providers to access this critical information. When we interviewed doctors, they expressed a strong preference for an app that frees them from hospital VPNs and allows one-tap access from the home screen.

🎉  Update: We published the app (you probably already noticed that we link it throughout the post). But there’s still much more we can do through this project to support hospitals, caregivers, and the entire medical community. We’re currently looking to extend this important work with additional funding — please reach out if you’re interested!

Thanks to our collaborators

  • You can read more about Dr. Cohen and her project in The New Yorker.
  • We could not have done this without ace collaborators Mina Hsiang & James Flynn, whose wisdom guided the project throughout. They really made this whole thing happen. When the idea originally came up, they each independently thought, “This would be perfect for Upstatement!” and called us, unbeknownst to one another. We ❤️ you two.

The Twitterverse reacted

And they were very nice. 🙏