A New System for Surveillance and Digital Contact Tracing for COVID-19: Spatiotemporal Reporting Over Network and GPS.JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2020 06 10; 8(6):e19457.JM
The current pandemic of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has highlighted the importance of rapid control of the transmission of infectious diseases. This is particularly important for COVID-19, where many individuals are asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms but can still spread the disease. Current systems for controlling transmission rely on patients to report their symptoms to medical professionals and be able to recall and trace all their contacts from the previous few days. This is unrealistic in the modern world. However, existing smartphone-based GPS and social media technology may provide a suitable alternative. We, therefore, developed a mini-program within the app WeChat. This analyzes data from all users and traces close contacts of all patients. This permits early tracing and quarantine of potential sources of infection. Data from the mini-program can also be merged with other data to predict epidemic trends, calculate individual and population risks, and provide recommendations for individual and population protection action. It may also improve our understanding of how the disease spreads. However, there are a number of unresolved questions about the use of smartphone data for health surveillance, including how to protect individual privacy and provide safeguards against data breaches.