• The tool has exceeded the download target and shows satisfactory results in all the variables analyzed, in addition to having received high user ratings.
  • There have been 6.4 close contacts for confirmed dummy positive, almost double the 3.5 detected by manual tracing today.
  • The pilot, which was approved by the Council of Ministers on June 23, was launched six days later on the Canary Island of La Gomera and ended on July 31
  • The app is ready so that the health authorities can allow its adoption by the Autonomous Communities in order to begin the work of connecting with their systems

RadarCOVID, the contagion alert application for mobile phones, has successfully passed its testing phase and is now available to the health authorities of the autonomous communities.

This is what the Secretary of State for Digitization and Artificial Intelligence, Carme Artigas, explained at a press conference in which she shared the results obtained during the pilot. Along with her, Pilar Aparicio, general director of Public Health and Innovation of the Ministry of Health, Pablo Hernández, general director of Modernization and Quality of Services of the Government of the Canary Islands, Santiago Graña, deputy general director of Impulso de la Digitización de la Administration, and Pablo Rodríguez, technical advisor of the project.

Adoption success, commitment, retention and operation

The test started on June 29 and has lasted until this July 31, during which time four simulated waves of COVID-19 sprouts have been simulated. During its development, and despite the fact that it only worked on the island of La Gomera, more than 60,000 people downloaded the app throughout Spain.

The first objective of the pilot was to precisely assess the adoption of the tool, that is, the number of people who would download it, and a target of 3,000 participants was set for La Gomera, a goal that has been exceeded according to the data obtained during the test. .

A second objective was to measure retention, referring to the number of users who kept the app active after downloading it. The results, also satisfactory, point to an 83% average retention achieved.

In addition, the commitment of the users in the communication of fictitious positives was analyzed, achieving 61% of active communications, of which 78% occurred in the 24 hours following the receipt of the simulated contagion code.

Another of the objectives outlined in the pilot was to measure the performance of the app in tracing contacts, achieving an average of 6.4 close risk contacts detected by confirmed simulated positive. This figure represents almost double the current efficiency of manual tracers, which in the Canary Islands detect an average of 3.5 contacts.

Favorable user reviews

Through interviews and questionnaires, the opinions of users regarding their experience of use have also been collected. All respondents state that they will continue to use the app when it is active nationwide, and almost all (82%) value it as a useful tool in the prevention of COVID-19 infections. The general evaluation of the tool has reached a score of 8.2 out of 10 possible points in these questionnaires.

By category, the highest ratings corresponded to the willingness of users to recommend the app to their environment (9.2 out of 10), ease of use (8.6), understanding of instructions (8.7) and the feeling of privacy and anonymity (8.6).

Next steps and deadlines

Once received the approval of the health authorities, the next step has been to make this application available to the autonomous communities, as the President of the Government did last Friday at the XXI Conference of Presidents. The autonomous communities that so wish may connect the tool with their health warning management systems.

Given the current situation, with the appearance of some outbreaks of contagion located in regions once mobility is restored, a first functional version of the tool could be available for a specific launch in mid-August.

The deployment in the rest of the national territory, in case the autonomous authorities so decide in the exercise of their powers, would come in mid-September.

Operation of the app

RadarCOVID follows the most guaranteed technical standards with the privacy of users in compliance with all the recommendations prepared by the European Commission in this regard. In this way, no user can be identified or located because there is no data registered and because the entire process takes place on their phone without going to any server. Both the use of the app and the communication of a possible contagion will always be voluntary.

The application uses the terminal's Bluetooth connection, through which the mobiles emit and observe anonymous identifiers of other phones that change periodically. When two terminals have been close for 15 minutes or more two meters or less apart, they both keep the anonymous identifier issued by the other.

If any user were diagnosed positive for COVID-19 after performing a PCR test, they would decide whether to give their consent so that an anonymous notification could be sent through the health system. In this way, the mobiles that had been in contact with the patient would receive a warning about the risk of possible contagion and instructions on how to proceed would be provided. As no data of any kind is requested, it is impossible to identify or locate any user in any way.

Currently, the European Commission is developing the legal and technical framework that makes interoperability between applications based on the decentralized model possible, such as RadarCOVID, so that they can continue to operate beyond the borders of each State. The Spanish Government has defended from the outset an interoperable model to expand the scope of this type of tool.

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