Containing a global pandemic through digital
PathCheck Foundation is unleashing the power of open-source software to help contain the pandemic and protect individual freedom and privacy.DEPT® worked alongside PathCheck to design and build two mobile apps to support a foundational health technology platform that will empower communities around the world to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Supporting PathCheck on its global mission
PathCheck Foundation was founded at MIT with a mission to contain the pandemic caused by COVID-19 and revitalise the global economy. The non-profit organisation envisions a new generation of digital solutions for public health. These solutions would empower individuals to play an active role in healthcare by opting in to digital contact tracing while protecting their individual privacy and liberty. Our US team worked alongside PathCheck’s team of experts to help support their global mission of building a foundational public health technology platform and mobile apps that make digital contact tracing, case management, epidemiological information collection and citizen communication easier and faster.
Building and designing mobile apps to contain the global pandemic
Digital is key to fighting the spread of COVID
In March of 2020, the CDC declared the spread of COVID-19 a global pandemic. It was and continues to be a scary time. Still, there is evidence that supports the capabilities of digital to help fight the spread of COVID. This is why countries such as Singapore, Germany and Ireland launched apps designed to trace the recent contacts of positive COVID cases as early as March. For other countries like the United States, however, concerns over privacy and data collection have made the adoption of similar apps slow. PathCheck aims to solve this privacy issue via open-source software.
The advantage is that these capabilities are entirely optional and privacy-preserving. Individuals can choose whether or not they want to participate. However, these solutions enable communities to work together to slow the spread of COVID-19 and complement other public health strategies such as social distancing, the use of masks, and manual contact tracing.
Continuing to support a novel public health platform
The mass adoption of a foundational public health technology platform that includes mobile touchpoints on every smartphone in the world is key to containing the COVID-19 pandemic. Together with PathCheck, we built and designed two apps for digital contact tracing that prioritise the user’s privacy. These applications are now being rolled out in two European countries and four US states & territories.
However, this is just the beginning. We will continue to support the foundation by building out more features to support the full spectrum of digital pandemic response needs. However, flexibility is crucial as our understanding of the virus evolves. Together with PathCheck, we envision a post-exposure notification UX that is easy to deploy, fully configurable per location’s needs, and can even assess a user’s symptoms and direct them towards their nearest test centre if needed. Lastly, we also want to provide public health authorities with a set of data dashboards and visualisations. These would help them to not only track the spread of the virus but to better understand how it’s being spread.
Jonas Roland Therkildsen
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