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May 1, 2020

NHS contact tracing app could succeed if linked to testing, study finds

By Chloe Kent

Researchers at Cass Business School have said it is possible to implement a privacy-respecting contract tracing app with wide adoption in the UK, but only if the NHS runs it – not the government.

A sample of 2,061 UK adults were asked to choose between different contract tasting app configurations to assess their preferences for various features.

Alongside the preference for NHS oversight, the researchers found that adoption rates increase further if the app is linked to priority testing for Covid-19 for those who get infection alerts. They also found that the public wants an ‘expiry date’ by which any data collected by the app will be destroyed.

Without these features, the research group expected the app’s adoption rate to only reach 51.1% among the population, compared to a maximum adoption rate of 77.6%.

No plans have currently been announced to link the expected NHSX app to priority testing.

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