Digital Contact Tracing

A privacy-first tech tool to help manage the spread of Covid-19

Support Healthcare Workers, Protect Privacy, Save Lives

Contact tracing is critical to containing the spread of coronavirus. Manual contact tracing is a high-touch process managed by public health officials. As the number of confirmed cases in a community rise and sick patients require more attention, preventative efforts like contact tracing become deprioritized in favor of direct treatment. But contact tracing is just as critical in order to combat the spread of the disease.

Alternatives to manual processes can be found in the form of new technologies. Surveillance tech has been used to automate and expand capacity for contact tracing but at a high cost to individual privacy. This trade-off has been part of the management strategy in places like South Korea and Singapore with a high degree of success through a contact tracing method known as “broadcasting”.

We have an opportunity for a different path in KC. A newly-developed, open-source approach to contact tracing out of MIT that puts privacy first can provide robust contact tracing data and relieve the burden of front-line health workers. As a bonus, the tech is powered by a KC company. If we can encourage widespread usage of this app in our community now, we have the ability to conserve resources as we approach our local peak, develop a more holistic containment strategy to prevent a recurrence, and potentially save 100s or 1000s of lives in the KC metro.

Here is an evolving FAQ with more information about containment strategies, contact tracing, and the SafePaths / TripleBlind approach. Read more about the underlying privacy principles here. And you can check out the code on Github.

To deliver on this strategy we need

  • Political will to encourage adoption of this app as part of our unified messaging around Covid-19 mitigation
  • Buy-in from the health care community that this solution will meet their contact tracing needs and become part of patient workflow
  • Transparency to citizens and residents to trust that the privacy safeguards built into the software are real; and we need people to download and enable the app.

We are working to coordinate with civic leaders, public health officials, and privacy advocates in the KC metro to build this capacity to protect our region. Please email covid19@kcdigitaldrive.org for more info. Learn more about related efforts around symptom self-reporting here.

Related News

MoodSpark’s digital companion combats loneliness in seniors by detecting signs of sadness and uplifting with emotional memories and personalized interventions

MoodSpark was founded in 2020 to develop a digital companion for seniors suffering from loneliness, anxiety, and depression. MoodSpark’s companion is designed to detect signs of sadness and distress in elderly patients and respond with emotional memories, personalized conversations, and video visits with friends and family that can help to distract, re-direct, and uplift.

Read More

Excelsior Springs Hospital, early receiver of a large FCC COVID-19 emergency grant for innovative telehealth response

In April 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a $200 million plan to provide telehealth funding to hospitals, many of which were scrambling to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the CARES Act, the FCC set aside the funds for provider organizations who could apply for telehealth-related assistance.  Excelsior Springs Hospital located […]

Read More

Related Events

Event Date: December 8, 2021 Time: 8:30-10:00 am Location: Zoom: https://kcdigitaldrive.zoom.us/j/88362422609 Admission: Free As per our usual method, we are combining the November and December Health Innovation Team meetings to accommodate the holidays. In this December 8th meeting, we will look at a long-term successful project in the KC area and a new company striving […]

Event Details