116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
An Ankeny-based software engineer who helped Iowans find COVID-19 vaccine appointments is refocusing his effort to make coronavirus testing options easier to find for some online users.
This week, Todd Brady launched Test Hunter, a website that aggregates data on sites across the state that offer PCR or rapid coronavirus testing.
The 37-year-old debuted the software earlier this year as Vaccine Hunter, a search engine for available COVID-19 vaccine appointments at various providers statewide. Thousands of Iowans used the tool during the rollout of shots earlier this year.
“Hopefully it’s not a tool we need to use very often, but it’s out there,” he said.
The website — brady-software.com/test-hunter — has more than 600 sites offering COVID-19 testing, including retail pharmacies such as Hy-Vee and Walgreens, since it went live Monday.
Test Hunter uses a program to search certain websites hourly to aggregate data on available test appointments, then publishes them automatically online. Users can filter appointments based on test type and based on the proximity to their ZIP code.
The site also lists the cost of each COVID-19 test.
“I felt if I could show the prices, people could price shop a bit and get a reasonable deal,” Brady said.
A software engineer for Principal Financial Group in Des Moines, Brady decided to build Test Hunter after his family was exposed to a positive COVID-19 cases about two weeks ago. During that time, they discovered it was more difficult than they had expected to find reasonable testing options, he said.
He’s also heard from others who have faced similar barriers to finding COVID-19 tests in a timely manner.
“Based off the things I’ve heard, it’s not a matter of finding a test — people will find a test. The problem is the time between the tests and the results,” Brady said.
“For Test Iowa, if you don’t have any on hand, you have to pick up a kit and then send it in. It takes as long as seven days to get it back.”
However, Brady said that the site shows when open appointments are available, but it doesn’t specify the time frame that appointment could be available. In some cases, that available slot could be four days out, he noted.
Brady still is working to make the site as up to date as possible, he said. He noted he may have to add test providers onto the site manually, which can be a time-consuming process.
“It’s good work. I enjoy working on this,” Brady said. “If this helps people test, I’m good with the busy work.”
The Vaccine Hunter site still is available at brady-software.com/vaccine-hunter.
Brady created the Vaccine Hunter tool on his personal domain this past spring to help his family members, friends and other loved ones find available COVID-19 vaccines. He decided to build the tool after he noticed the state’s vaccine finder, vaccinate.iowa.gov, did not list open appointment slots at the vaccine providers it listed.
He made the website public in early March.
Brady announced he will run against Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver for the District 19 state Senate seat, in Ankeny, in the 2022 elections. He will run as a Democrat, according to his July campaign announcement.
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