Building the model
We approached the building of the model by listing the requirements (functional, quality attributes and constraints) as thoroughly as possible.
We set out to make it as complete as possible while remaining focused on the most significant aspects - with significance meaning it has an impact on the selection of a solution. This definition has obviously some circular reasoning inside. That’s the reason why this list and the possible solutions will have to go through multiple back-and-forth iterations, as new potential solutions will point to blind spots in the requirements.
We kick-started the model building by looking into existing models and solutions. As there is some judgement used, we describe this process as transparently as possible and invite external scrutiny.
The model we propose is built around the following domains of requirements:
- Effectiveness: the degree to which a solution is successful in achieving the desired result
- Privacy and security: the ability of an individual (or group) to seclude information about themselves
- Ethical considerations: the way we will balance privacy versus effectiveness
Before diving into the specifics of the model, we need to define the scope of the intended system. This is relevant when we want to talk about the effectiveness of a solution.
Although the ultimate goal of the system is to limit the combined health and economical damage caused by the pandemic, this cannot be the scope of this discussion. An effective strategy has too many moving parts beyond what a technological solution can contribute to, encompassing a wide range of measures (testing capacity and policy, information provisioning, face mask availability and wearing rules, organised social distancing, …) and delicate trade-offs (e.g. between safety and impact on the economy).
The solutions we take in scope are meant to have an indirect impact on the effectiveness of the strategy and the trade-offs. The more granular the data offered by the system, the more targeted measures can be designed. So this granularity will be part of the effectiveness requirements.
But the scope of the solutions discussed here is contributing to the outcomes mentioned previously:
- Empower citizens to take effective and more targeted social distancing measures (ref: EC Recommendation of 8.4.2020), including informing users of increased potential exposure and advising them on adequate measures, supporting their relationship with healthcare providers.
- Support transmission tracing at scale (ref: EC Recommendation of 8.4.2020), which we extend to ‘transmission tracing’ to encompass explicitly all transmission routes beyond person-to-person contacts.
- Inform policymakers on measures and exit strategy (ref: EC Recommendation of 8.4.2020) through spatio-temporal analysis of data on spread and impact.
- Assess the effectiveness of measures
- Optimise resource allocation (e.g. testing) and utilisation (e.g. triage) in order to avoid overburdening the healthcare system and yield the maximal impact of available resources
- Organise the effective isolation of infected individuals and quarantining of suspected infections, including the social-economical aspects
- Enable scientific research on the pandemic and the fight against the pandemic