Exploring the full landscape
Our scope is the contribution of technology available to citizens (like iOS and Android equipped smartphones) to the prevention of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The System under study is thus the sum of components that interplay in the prevention :
- The citizen equipped with a smartphone, having encounters with other persons, doing visits to points of interest, making movements and showing symptoms.
- The healthcare system including health authorities, testing facilities, healthcare providers, epidemiologists, contact tracers
- Academic researchers
- Policy makers
- Social support providers (in charge of organising social-economical aspects of isolation and quarantining)
- Users of other similar systems
The goals of the system are:
- As a whole: to limit the combined health and economical damage caused by the pandemic
- As means to this end:
- 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 contact 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 policy makers on measures and exit strategy (ref: EC Recommendation of 8.4.2020) through spatio-temporal analysis of data on spread and impact of the virus.
- Assess the effectiveness of measures
- Optimize resource allocation (e.g. testing) and utilization (e.g. triage) in order to avoid overburdening the healthcare system and yield the maximal impact of available resources
- Support the organizing of 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
- We explicitly exclude law enforcement and mass surveillance.
This requires the following features:
- General preventive guidelines and warnings
- Targeted preventive guidelines and warnings
- Information about the status of the pandemic
- Information about the measures and policies
Support transmission tracing(*)
- Identify and isolate infected individuals (index cases)
- Track encounters of the index cases in order to quarantine them awaiting testing according to a monitoring protocol (building contact graphs and backtracking the index case’s contacts)
- Identify visits to points of interest and movements of the index cases
- Identify hotspots (indicators for environmental transmission or unidentified encounters) based on the correlation of visits to points of interest or locations with infection incidence
- Identify the ‘most central individual’ in a network so as to target tests for maximal network coverage
- Identify super spreaders
- Provide warnings and instructions (isolation, quarantining, testing)
Support healthcare provisioning:
- Pre-disease self-diagnosing (e.g. health / symptoms diary)
- Preparing a doctor’s visit (e.g. pre-anamnesis / medical history / triage)
- Post-diagnosis contact on treatment and symptoms evolution
Inform policy making:
- Provide aggregated dashboards of relevant indicators
- Model and predict the evolution of the disease based on spatio-temporal mapping of symptoms and infections based on monitoring of consenting individuals of their (para-)medical data and location and movements
Monitor the effectiveness of decision-making by authorities on measures such as social distancing and confinement
- Correlate spatio-temporal symptom and infection mapping with measures taken
Optimize resource allocation
- Targeted testing
- Capture and consolidate information
- Efficient use of contact tracers (and thus reduce the amount of people needed)
- Certify infection and exposure data
- Support appropriate information exchange between actors (index case, employer, care givers, healthcare providers, social security)
- Conduct surveys among the population
- Provide adequately protected data
(*) We choose the term ‘transmission tracing’ rather than ‘contact tracing’ in order to explicitly include transmission modes beyond person-to-person transmission.