Boston Technology Corporation Collaborates With Google Cloud And UNC To Launch “Heroes Health” App To Support COVID-19 Frontline Workers

As first responders and healthcare workers continue to help those suffering from COVID-19, UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine and UNC health along with tech partners Boston Technology Corporation, Google Cloud, and X (Alphabet’s “moonshot factory”) have launched the “Heroes Health” Mental Wellness app to help support the mental health of all critical workers and provide them with options to deal with the challenges they face on a daily basis.

Screenshot from the Heroes Health app (Photo: Business Wire)

What does this app do and how does it help?

From offering short mental health self-assessments, to symptom summary reports, the “Heroes Health” Mental Wellness app puts COVID-19 unit workers first by offering links that provide immediate support and mental health resources, including free and low-cost services, along with proactive worker outreach and compiling necessary data to identify areas where more worker support is needed.

The app, which is accessible through both Google and Apple’s app stores in the United States is free of charge to first responders, healthcare workers, and their organizations.

How did the idea for this app come about?

After contracting COVID and infecting two of his own family members, Dr. Samuel McLean, a UNC emergency physician took it upon himself to create the Heroes Health Initiative to help handle the daily stressors that medical workers face during the pandemic. This initiative, he said, is especially important to him because he knows the great challenges these workers face everyday.

“First responders and healthcare workers are facing a lot of challenges right now,” Dr. McLean said. “There is the personal risk of severe illness or death. Much worse, there is the anxiety and fear of infecting loved ones. This an even greater challenge for first responders or health workers who live with someone particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. It’s important to give first responders and healthcare workers a simple, quick way to regularly check in on their mental health and immediately find resources. It is also important to provide organizations with tools that help empower them to care for each other.”

How was the app created?

To create the “Heroes Health” Mental Wellness app, Dr. McLean in collaboration with Dr. Ron Kessler, a professor at Harvard Medical School enlisted the help of Alphabet – the parent company of Google Cloud and X to produce the app in collaboration with Boston Technology Corporation.

Volunteers from Google and X (Alphabet’s “moonshot factory”) donated their time to customize the app, while Google Cloud provided free credits from their academic research program. The app, which is built on Google Cloud’s implementation of the FDA’s open-source MyStudies platform, allows it to be scaled based on demand and collect real-world data through the app’s user-friendly mobile interface to understand how to best support frontline workers’ mental health.

Google Cloud, which started working with BTC on enhancing the FDA’s open-source MyStudies platform in January, hopes to help those who use it to conduct life-saving research that can possibly lead to new medications, devices and therapeutics through real-world data findings.

“By building on the FDA MyStudies platform, Google Cloud hopes to stimulate an open ecosystem that will improve the ability to perform research that leads to better patient outcomes,” Jameson Rogers, Ph.D., Product Manager for Google Cloud Healthcare & Life Sciences said. “This collaboration continues our long history of open-source work, and our commitment to producing easy-to-use tools that serve the healthcare and life sciences community.”

The open source FDA MyStudies platform, which was originally built by Boston Technology Corporation, is currently being enhanced by BTC for Google Cloud.

Critical technical support is also being provided by the company to ensure that the platform is HIPAA compliant and has access to Google Cloud’s robust security and privacy protections to protect user data.

“We are proud and privileged to have worked on this initiative to make the ‘Heroes Health’ App available for first responders and healthcare workers,” Shyam Deval, The President of Boston Technology Corporation said. “We are committed to providing a positive contribution by helping those in need during this COVID-19 crisis and are looking forward to doing that through this partnership.”

To learn more about the Heroes Health Initiative, click here.