Local doctor helps design app to help Black community fight COVID-19

Posted at 10:18 PM, Nov 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-05 23:18:33-05

CINCINNATI — As Ohio sees a record-breaking number of COVID-19 cases, a local doctor is working on a smartphone app designed to help people across the country in their fight against the virus.

Dr. Donald Lynch, Jr., a cardiologist at UC Health, is trying to lessen COVID-19’s blow to the African-American community.

“I have patients that come in all the time and looking to get testing or they need testing and it’s sometimes hard,” Lynch said.

He said he knows how devastating health issues can be.

“Personally, my family was affected by cardiovascular disease,” Lynch said. “My grandmother died ultimately of a stroke and she had heart disease and valve disease.”

Across the state of Ohio, and the country COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on minority populations, including the Black community.

“We have for example in Cincinnati we have around 14 % of the population is African-American, but we noticed a much higher percentage of deaths were in the African-American community,” Lynch said.

Among the reasons for that – dense urban neighborhoods and jobs as essential workers – but he said he things a new app will help.

“I approached my colleagues and we put together a competitive application and it was selected for funding,” Lynch said.

He’s now working with health professionals in Missouri and Georgia on a smartphone application to dispel misinformation and point people in the right direction for heatlh care.

“If they are symptomatic from the standpoint of COVID, it will help refer them to testing centers,” Lynch said.

He said he hopes there will be a prototype in the hands of those who need it by early next year.

“We really want to disseminate this technology to the community as a whole and make it readily available to people in Cincinnati, Ohio and across the country,” Lynch said.

He said he will be using focus groups to make sure the app can best reach those it’s designed to help.