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1.
JMIR mHealth and uHealth ; 2021:1-23, 2021.
Article in English | APA PsycInfo | ID: covidwho-1918840

ABSTRACT

Background: Digital contact tracing apps have the potential to augment contact tracing systems and disrupt COVID-19 transmission by rapidly identifying secondary cases prior to the onset of infectiousness and linking them into a system of quarantine, testing, and health care worker case management. The international experience of digital contact tracing apps during the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates how challenging their design and deployment are. Objective: This study aims to derive and summarize best practice guidance for the design of the ideal digital contact tracing app. Methods: A collaborative cross-disciplinary approach was used to derive best practice guidance for designing the ideal digital contact tracing app. A search of the indexed and gray literature was conducted to identify articles describing or evaluating digital contact tracing apps. MEDLINE was searched using a combination of free-text terms and Medical Subject Headings search terms. Gray literature sources searched were the World Health Organization Institutional Repository for Information Sharing, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control publications library, and Google, including the websites of many health protection authorities. Articles that were acceptable for inclusion in this evidence synthesis were peer-reviewed publications, cohort studies, randomized trials, modeling studies, technical reports, white papers, and media reports related to digital contact tracing. Results: Ethical, user experience, privacy and data protection, technical, clinical and societal, and evaluation considerations were identified from the literature. The ideal digital contact tracing app should be voluntary and should be equitably available and accessible. User engagement could be enhanced by small financial incentives, enabling users to tailor aspects of the app to their particular needs and integrating digital contact tracing apps into the wider public health information campaign. Adherence to the principles of good data protection and privacy by design is important to convince target populations to download and use digital contact tracing apps. Bluetooth Low Energy is recommended for a digital contact tracing app's contact event detection, but combining it with ultrasound technology may improve a digital contact tracing app's accuracy. A decentralized privacy-preserving protocol should be followed to enable digital contact tracing app users to exchange and record temporary contact numbers during contact events. The ideal digital contact tracing app should define and risk-stratify contact events according to proximity, duration of contact, and the infectiousness of the case at the time of contact. Evaluating digital contact tracing apps requires data to quantify app downloads, use among COVID-19 cases, successful contact alert generation, contact alert receivers, contact alert receivers that adhere to quarantine and testing recommendations, and the number of contact alert receivers who subsequently are tested positive for COVID-19. The outcomes of digital contact tracing apps' evaluations should be openly reported to allow for the wider public to review the evaluation of the app. Conclusions: In conclusion, key considerations and best practice guidance for the design of the ideal digital contact tracing app were derived from the literature. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)

2.
Digital health ; 8, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1749642

ABSTRACT

Objective This study aims to gather public opinion on the Irish “COVID Tracker” digital contact tracing (DCT) App, with particular focus on App usage, usability, usefulness, technological issues encountered, and potential changes to the App. Methods A 35-item online questionnaire was deployed for 10 days in October 2020, 3 months after the launch of the Irish DCT App. Results A total of 2889 completed responses were recorded, with 2553 (88%) respondents currently using the App. Although four in five users felt the App is easy to download, is easy to use and looks professional, 615 users (22%) felt it had slowed down their phone, and 757 (28%) felt it had a negative effect on battery life. Seventy-nine percent of respondents reported the App's main function is to aid contact tracing. Inclusion of national COVID-19 trends is a useful ancillary function according to 87% of respondents, and there was an appetite for more granular local data. Overall, 1265 (44%) respondents believed the App is helping the national effort, while 1089 (38%) were unsure. Conclusions DCT Apps may potentially augment traditional contact tracing methods. Despite some reports of negative effects on phone performance, just 7% of users who have tried the App have deleted it. Ancillary functionality, such as up-to-date regional COVID-19, may encourage DCT App use. This study describes general positivity toward the Irish COVID Tracker App among users but also highlights the need for transparency on effectiveness of App-enabled contact tracing and for study of non-users to better establish barriers to use.

3.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-319963

ABSTRACT

Digital Contact Tracing (DCT) is seen as a key tool in reducing the propagation of viruses such as Covid-19, but it requires uptake and participation in the technology across a large proportion of the population to be effective. While we observe the pervasive uptake of mobile device usage across our society, the installation and usage of contact tracing apps developed by governments and health services globally have faced difficulties. These difficulties range across the user-populations’ issues with the installation of the apps, us-ability and comprehension challenges, trust in the efficacy of the technology, performance issues such as the effect on battery life, and concerns about data protection and privacy. In this work, we present our findings from a comprehensive review of the online user feedback relating to the initial release of the HSE Contact Tracker app, in an effort to inform later iterations and thus help sustain and potentially increase usage of the technology. While this might seem quite tightly scoped to the Irish context only, this app provides the basis for apps in many jurisdictions in the United States and Europe. Our findings suggest a largely positive sentiment towards the app, and that users thought it handled data protection and transparency aspects well. But feedback also suggested that users would appreciate more targeted feedback,more proactive engagement and also suggested that both the ‘android-battery’ issue and the backward-compatibility issue with iPhones seriously impacted retention/uptake of the app respectively.

4.
AMA J Ethics ; 23(11): E852-857, 2021 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1625801

ABSTRACT

Homelessness remains a pervasive, long-standing problem in the United States and is poised to increase as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals experiencing homelessness bear a higher burden of complex medical and mental health illnesses and often struggle to obtain quality and timely health care. The United States desperately needs to train a workforce to confront this large and growing crisis, but few health professional schools currently devote curricula to the clinical needs of people experiencing homelessness. This article discusses educational and curricular strategies for health professional students. Understanding the health needs of-and the social influences on the lives of-people experiencing homelessness is crucial for addressing this health equity challenge.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Homeless Persons , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Problems , United States
5.
Science ; 371(6529)2021 02 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388436

ABSTRACT

Analysis of 772 complete severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) genomes from early in the Boston-area epidemic revealed numerous introductions of the virus, a small number of which led to most cases. The data revealed two superspreading events. One, in a skilled nursing facility, led to rapid transmission and significant mortality in this vulnerable population but little broader spread, whereas other introductions into the facility had little effect. The second, at an international business conference, produced sustained community transmission and was exported, resulting in extensive regional, national, and international spread. The two events also differed substantially in the genetic variation they generated, suggesting varying transmission dynamics in superspreading events. Our results show how genomic epidemiology can help to understand the link between individual clusters and wider community spread.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Genome, Viral , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Boston/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Disease Outbreaks , Epidemiological Monitoring , Humans
7.
Ir J Med Sci ; 191(1): 103-112, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1092014

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Digital Contact Tracing is seen as a key tool in reducing the propagation of Covid-19. But it requires high uptake and continued participation across the population to be effective. To achieve sufficient uptake/participation, health authorities should address, and thus be aware of, user concerns. AIM: This work manually analyzes user reviews of the Irish Heath Service Executive's (HSE) Contact Tracker app, to identify user concerns and to lay the foundations for subsequent, large-scale, automated analyses of reviews. While this might seem tightly scoped to the Irish context, the HSE app provides the basis for apps in many jurisdictions in the USA and Europe. METHODS: Manual analysis of (1287) user reviews from the Google/Apple playstores was performed, to identify the aspects of the app that users focused on, and the positive/negative sentiment expressed. RESULTS: The findings suggest a largely positive sentiment towards the app, and that users thought it handled data protection and transparency aspects well. But feedback suggests that users would appreciate more targeted feedback on the incidence of the virus, and facilities for more proactive engagement, like notifications that prompt users to submit their health status daily. Finally, the analysis suggests that the "android battery" issue and the backward-compatibility issue with iPhones seriously impacted retention/uptake of the app respectively. CONCLUSION: The HSE have responded to the public's desire for targeted feedback in newer versions, but should consider increasing the app's proactive engagement. The results suggest they should also raise the backward compatibility issue, regarding older iPhones, with Apple.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Mobile Applications , Contact Tracing , Feedback , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
9.
Public Health Rep ; 135(4): 435-441, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-591395

ABSTRACT

People experiencing homelessness are at high risk for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In March 2020, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, in partnership with city and state public health agencies, municipal leaders, and homeless service providers, developed and implemented a citywide COVID-19 care model for this vulnerable population. Components included symptom screening at shelter front doors, expedited testing at pop-up sites, isolation and management venues for symptomatic people under investigation and for people with confirmed disease, quarantine venues for asymptomatic exposed people, and contact investigation and tracing. Real-time disease surveillance efforts in a large shelter outbreak of COVID-19 during the third week of operations illustrated the need for several adaptations to the care model to better respond to the local epidemiology of illness among people experiencing homelessness. Symptom screening was de-emphasized given the high number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic infections discovered during mass testing; contact tracing and quarantining were phased out under the assumption of universal exposure among the sheltered population; and isolation and management venues were rapidly expanded to accommodate a surge in people with newly diagnosed COVID-19. During the first 6 weeks of operation, 429 of 1297 (33.1%) tested people were positive for COVID-19; of these, 395 people were experiencing homelessness at the time of testing, representing about 10% of the homeless adult population in Boston. Universal testing, as resources permit, is a focal point of ongoing efforts to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 on this vulnerable group of people.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections , Homeless Persons , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Population Surveillance/methods , Public Health Practice , Adult , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Boston/epidemiology , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Communicable Diseases, Emerging/prevention & control , Contact Tracing , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Humans , Mobile Health Units , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Polymerase Chain Reaction , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2
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