Covid-19 cases are on the rise on a near-global scale, with local lockdowns in force across several areas of the UK. Part of the answer to combating this may lie in contact-tracing apps and software. Our digital marketing agency explains more.

What are the benefits of contact tracing?

Research from China earlier in the year showed that people who were identified as needing to self-isolate via contact tracing did so much faster than those who relied on isolating after developing symptoms (2.7 days compared with 4.6 days). In other words, those using the app self-isolated quicker than those who didn’t. 

What apps & software are out there?

NHS – launched on 26th September and compatible with apple and android devices, the app has contact tracing, local area alerts and venue check-in features. It also gives a guide to symptoms, enables you to book testing, and has a ‘self-isolation countdown’ to keep track of quarantining. 

Apple – at the start of the month, Apple hit the headlines for its new scheme, the Exposure Notification Express (ENE). Using Bluetooth, the scheme logs which users are in close contact and sends an alert too any affected if one or more are found to have the virus. The user can then choose to notify others, or the local public health authority may get in touch with further instructions, such as to download an app, visit a testing centre or call a hotline. 

Google – the internet giant is rolling out a scheme by the same name, but will be developing its own basic app instead.  

What’s the best to use?

It’s really down to personal preference. Some may not feel comfortable with tech titans having access to this kind of data, thinking it’s more the remit of local public health authorities, while others consider it a positive move that could cross international borders and install, hassle-free, on devices as part of the next operating system update.

What are the drawbacks?

Uptake is really important for the technology to be successful – and there’s no alternative for monitoring those who can’t use it (such as young children).  

Why should I incorporate this into my clinic?

Asking your patients to use these apps or software builds trust and boosts your reputation. The methods could also come to replace manual form-filling, where businesses have been asked to note down personal information and free up time at your clinic – especially where this kind of paperwork has caused a backlog to the extent that you’re struggling to see new clients. 

Aside from this, contact-tracing functionality with the right take-up could be a key way to fight coronavirus globally, especially when countries catch up with the production of test kits. 

Are there government incentives?

Not as yet, but there could be in the future. The same could be said for restrictions – for example, entry being dependent on having the software in place. This could be a great way to encourage your patients to use it when attending consultations and having something already in place if and when this happens to ensure you stay one step ahead of the competition. 

For more advice on contact tracing for your clinic, general help and tips during the pandemic, get in touch with our digital marketing agency experts today.