Background: The COVID-19 outbreak is proving to be a unique disaster in many countries across the globe. Screening and diagnosis are challenges in resource-limited countries as confirmation with reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is expensive and less accessible. Besides, due to the overlapping manifestations, there are no strongly suggestive symptoms that can be used as a screening tool. The goal of this study was to assess the validity of a newly created mobile phone application tool as a COVID-19 screening approach to the gold standard test (RT-PCR).
Methods: An institution-based cross-sectional study was conducted among 1029 individuals for validity assessment of a newly developed COVID-19 screening tool by having PCR test results as a reference. After obtaining consent, data were collected using a structured questionnaire, maintaining all the COVID 19 prevention protocols. SPSS version 25 was used to analyze the data. The sensitivity and specificity of the tool were determined.
Result: A total of 1005 participants were included in the study, which made the response rate close to 98%. The mean age of the respondents was 50.8 (SD=17.32) years; 574 (57.1%) were males and 108 (10.7%) were in the age category of 41 years and above. The current study identified that the internal consistency of Cronbach’s α was 0.769. The validity analysis result of the tool revealed that it has a sensitivity of 77.6% with 31.6% of positive predictive value and specificity of t 46.4% with 86.5% of negative predictive value. This study revealed that 59.4% of the study participants showed COVID-19 related symptoms and classified as tested positive for the infection, based on the newly developed mobile phone COVID-19 screening tool, whereas only 24.4% of them had positive test results for COVID-19 infection.
Conclusion: The sensitivity and specificity of the mobile application tool for symptomatic COVID 19 patients was almost equivalent to the nasal swab RT PCR test. Therefore, we recommend the use of this screening test bot. It is easily accessible and hence an effective way of reaching the population affected by the disease for early detection of symptomatic patients and taking appropriate measures.