Thursday, March 30, 2023

Covid apps could get a second chance under Biden, but it will take work

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NearForm, a software development company in Waterford, Ireland, created the app used by the Irish government, which has also been adopted by several US states. Larry Breen, the company’s chief commercial officer, said the smart approach wouldn’t be to introduce a single, centralized national app. Instead, he suggests, the White House could provide the resources local officials need to build their own apps, or help them be adopted more widely.

It’s about “removing some of the politics that surround it,” says Breen.

Make sure the technology works across state lines

Since most state-level apps were developed separately, they don’t always work across borders, not even in neighboring states. The virus, of course, doesn’t care where you are, so that’s a major problem. To get around this problem, states had to form their own alliances – for example, New York joined New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Some backbone infrastructures built by the Association of Public Health Laboratories allow applications from about 20 states and territories to work together so far. But this system still does not cover the whole country. Biden’s administration will need to coordinate a solution that works for all states and ensure that local health authorities have the information they need to accurately communicate with the public about the technology.

Take a holistic approach

Once travel around the world becomes easier, technology will also need to work across international borders. While the federal government is developing a national contact tracing plan, Breen says, it should also work with foreign governments to ensure travelers can track covid exposure with an app they’re used to, rather than to have to switch to the local version.

This is all the more important as we learn that some countries, like Singapore, are roll back freedoms and privacy. If US travelers could still use their US app, they could potentially keep their data out of Singapore’s central system.

Although some European countries already have operational cross-border exhibition applications, getting all countries in the world to be on a global system would be a difficult, if not impossible task.

“You have to convey this as a government, you are here to help; you are not here to harm.”

Harrell co

But the United States could choose to lead, and one way to do that would be to spend more money on public health technology, period. the Linux Foundation already working on strengthen interoperability for covid technologies, and Jenny Wanger, director of programs for the Linux Foundation Public Health, says funding is part of the challenge. She says the industry has been underfunded for decades, which means “there are a lot of systems that don’t work very well together.” She adds: “The fax machine still reigns supreme. Everyone knows we can do things a lot better, but the only way to do it is to change the business model. ”


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