The state health department has a new automated system that will text people their COVID-19 test results.
Getting a text from the state with negative COVID-19 test results could put countless minds at ease, but officials said that’s only a small piece of the program that helps them better track the virus.
"It's a service that the state is offering now to kind of make you more aware of your negative test, because what we've learned throughout this is sometimes labs don't," Travis Kirkpatrick, OSDH's deputy commissioner said.
The new MTX Case Investigation Application keeps track of incoming test results sent by labs across the state, and texts Oklahomans a link to view negative test results. People who test positive will still get a phone call.
Kirkpatrick said for many, that's the most they'll see of the system, but the texts only scratch the surface of what it does behind the scenes.
"We like to call MTX kind of a force-multiplier of technology," Kirkpatrick said. "It allows us to use technology to put in place where people might have been."
The state said MTX simplifies a complicated process and updates an antiquated system by automating some data tracking and distribution.
"Now we have this kind of ability for just one system, to give us a little bit more of an ability to start tracking the data on a different level," Kirkpatrick said.
That means getting a finer look at when and where outbreaks happen, and what populations are more affected. That level of tracking has been something done up to this point only by epidemiologists.
The Health Department said the add-on application doesn't fundamentally change the state's existing system, it just makes it more efficient.
Kirkpatrick said MTX fills in a few critical gaps and helps us learn about the virus faster than ever.
The state is doing a soft launch of the system this week. Officials expect a full launch by the end of the year.