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WhenToTest.org Develops Tool to Guide Individuals on COVID-19 Testing

BOSTON, Nov. 3, 2021WhenToTest.org announced today the release of a new decision-support tool to provide individuals and families with guidance for COVID-19 testing. 

WhenToTest.org started with a mission to provide data-driven recommendations for how organizations such as schools and businesses should establish effective and customized testing programs based on their particular risk factors. Building on the success of this platform, WhenToTest.org, in collaboration with DataRobot, developed a new state-of-the-art tool to provide individuals and families with fact-based guidance for when they should be tested for COVID-19. WhenToTest.org has been developed by a team at the Consortium for Improving Medicine with Innovation and Technology (CIMIT) and is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) RADx Tech program to increase testing capacity and accessibility.

Steven C. Schachter, M.D., CIMIT’s RADx Tech chief, said, “We all want to resume a full range of activities, such as spending quality time with family and reconnecting with friends. Testing is critical to being able to do those things safely. This new tool gives users confidence in their decision on whether to seek out a test, particularly before engaging in social activities.”

While many COVID-19 testing decision-support tools focus on a person’s symptoms, WhenToTest.org’s tool accounts for a range of risk factors including geographic location, vaccination status, mask use, recent COVID-19 test results, and social activities. These factors are then analyzed by an advanced, artificial intelligence-based model developed by DataRobot to determine a person’s level of risk for having COVID-19 and a recommendation for whether to get tested. DataRobot’s model is regularly updated with an estimate of a community’s current infection rate based on confirmed and unconfirmed cases to ensure that a user is receiving the most up-to-date guidance. 

“The RADx program has dramatically increased the availability of tests and, through WhenToTest.org, has provided accessible new software tools to guide organizations and communities on their most impactful use,” said Bruce Tromberg, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, part of NIH.  “With this exciting new release, whentotest.org adds a powerful new feature that extends expert guidance to individuals, allowing anyone to create a personalized testing plan based on their unique needs.”

The Consortia for Improving Medicine with Innovation and Technology (CIMIT) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Institute for Data Systems and Society (MIT IDSS) developed WhenToTest.org with support from the NIH’s RADx Tech program.

The project was funded by NIBIB through the NIH RADx Initiative via grant #U54EB015408 and contracts #75N92021P00116 and 75N92021P00129.

About WhenToTest.org: WhenToTest.org is an online platform that supports organizations to establish effective COVID-19 mitigation strategies and individuals in deciding whether to seek COVID-19 tests based on their particular risk factors. WhenToTest.org is a joint project between the Consortia for Improving Medicine with Innovation and Technology (CIMIT) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Institute for Data Systems and Society (MIT IDSS) with support from the National Institute of Health’s RADx Tech program.

RADx: Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADxsm) initiative was formed to accelerate the development, validation, and commercialization of innovative point-of-care and home-based tests, as well as improvements to clinical laboratory tests, that can directly detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

ABOUT RADx