Synoptic Software’s Graeme Scott was a guest speaker for the Westminster Health Forum to discuss ‘The Development and rollout of test and trace, and the future of the COVID-19 contact tracing app’.
For Synoptic the successful development of the test and trace app, is contingent on approaching the problem from a different angle.
We have learnt much from the first iterations of the test and trace app. Now however, it is important to recognise that we have entered a new phase in the app’s development and there are two fundamentals that must occur to create an effective app in phase 2.
An individual user must trust the product before they can engage with it – as of yet, the data privacy hurdles, and concerns have not been overcome. The current legal framework in which track and trace, testing, critical care data flow, and COVID-19 data flow may be reported is extremely prohibitive. This is completely understandable, and a logical starting point given the unique nature of the pandemic, however, there needs to be a realignment of responsibility that will enable the country to move forward. For as long as the Government does not democratise ownership of track and trace, the side effect will be a huge lack of critical data, impossible supply chain issues and an ever-growing lack of confidence in the Government. Legal frameworks relating to privacy which meet GDPR and even more stringent standards already exist across the nation. These need to be leveraged immediately in order to enable the flow of critical data and deliver progress.
Responsibility needs to be democratised – when using the app every citizen must feel comfortable in the knowledge that their data is not being misused and that they are in control. With this confidence in place, individuals will not only feel empowered to take responsibility for their own health but also to privately share their own data as a means of protecting others. As this data is shared with the necessary organisations and bubbles with which individuals have interacted, we can start to achieve a granular insight that allows everyone from the individual user or a school, and right up to the NHS and Government to react and manage the virus much more effectively.