To ease the COVID-19 screening processes in the country, especially for travellers who find it difficult to slot in last-minute testing into their travel schedule, a team of Malaysian healthcare workers have come up with CLEA, a virtual screening platform for COVID-19.
In place of physical screening, CLEA offers a seamless, safe, and easy way to check for and track exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, through an online app. CLEA does the legwork – including medical consultations from professional doctors and getting verified clinic test reports.
According to Dr. Chan Hai Feng, Founder and CEO of CLEA, the app has saved a great deal of time for compulsory screening activities since it was launched in October 2021. More importantly, CLEA has assured the safety of medical frontliners who need to conduct risky screenings.
CLEA users are guided in conducting self-tests through step-by-step instructions within the app, available to download on popular operating system platforms like the AppStore and Google Play store. The self-tests are later verified and authenticated by medically qualified doctors.
Dr. Chan and his team are working to enhance CLEA, to empower the public to lead their lives safely and responsibly: the founder has recently spoken to Healthcare Asia (HCA), sharing on motivational factors and challenges faced in the app’s development.
HCA: The story behind CLEA, the scenario(s) in which the app will be highly effective in, and the importance of virtual screening.
Dr. Chan Hai Feng: The team behind CLEA has been actively involved in mass screening activities over the pandemic. During this period, there was a time when the whole team was down due to contact with positive patients. It was not a good experience, and everyone was demotivated. I was convinced that there must be a better way to screen more effectively while lowering the risk of exposure to everyone. After the app’s creation, we replaced almost all our physical onsite screening with this method. This has helped us enormously in saving time and lowering our risk of exposure and made it possible for COVID-19 screening to be done more efficiently.
Travellers coming into Malaysia are required to perform their Day 3 and Day 5 compulsory COVID-19 screening. These travellers are always on the road travelling from one place to another and having them schedule two extra COVID-19 screening days in clinics is a hassle. When they are in a new town, they would not even be familiar with the nearby clinics that are offering COVID-19 screening. The limitation on the clinic’s working hours will absolutely disturb their travel timetable too. With CLEA, one would be able to perform their test anytime and anywhere, on their own schedule at a low cost. This would ensure that the compulsory test is performed on time, protecting the people around them. This also reduces the physical contact risk of all these travellers with patients in the clinics.
What are the challenges Dr. Chan and the CLEA team faced in developing the application and how did they overcome them?
Challenges were mostly on the technical part, where doctors had plenty of ideas on how to verify and perform the screening. However, not everything is feasible or practical when it comes to the app. We are lucky to have colleagues with fantastic tech background work on the development of the app, trying to design and code it as best as it can be.
How can CLEA help stakeholders from various industries, from the digital healthcare industry to manufacturing, and the food and beverage industry?
We assist these industries in screening their employees way before they enter the workplace; human resource departments will be able to work efficiently as our API (application programming interface) would be integrated into their system providing real time and the latest screening reports for their usage.
How can virtual COVID-19 screening play a part in shaping the future of digital healthcare?
More and more clinics and doctors will adopt digital healthcare as everyone realises that this would be the way of the future. We foresee this will complement the private and the government medical facilities in many ways, sensitise healthcare, and at the same time improve the overall community healthcare index.
What are the plans for CLEA in 2022?
We are actively screening and fighting COVID-19. We are looking forward to introducing this virtual screening solution to more neighbouring countries and make Malaysia proud.