Breaking: NHSX COVID contact tracing app exits stage left. Enter the Apple and Google dance team.

Breaking News: The NHS finally abandoned the NHSX-designed COVID contact tracing app in favor of the app based on the Apple and Google API.

The NHSX version had issues, seemingly intractable, on the BTE features on distancing and contact duration between devices, as well as the app being inaccurate on the iPhone.

The “Gapple” app is already in use in Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Latvia, and Poland. As this Editor noted on Tuesday, Austria is in test, Germany just launched their ‘Corona Warning App’ and reported 6.5 million downloads in the first 24 hours. 

The BBC reported that the lead on the NHSX app, Matthew Gould and Geraint Lewis, are “stepping back” and former Apple executive Simon Thompson is joining NHSX to manage it

Depending on reports, the NHS either rejected the Gapple app in April or were working on it in tandem from May. More likely, they revived the latter with the NHSX problems. The Gapple version is decentralized in storing information about user contacts on individual phone handsets because of issues over user privacy, versus the NHSX centralized app.

According to the FT and TechCrunch, the government is de-emphasizing the utility of the app, and relying on its small army of contact tracers. 

But what about all those folks on the Isle of Wight?

More on this: Digitalhealth.net, TechCrunch, Financial Times     Hat tip to Steve Hards for alerting this Editor at the end of a busy day!

Categories: Latest News, Opinion, and Soapbox.

Comments

  1. It was evident at the start that the NHSX app was not going to work. Using BTLE for working out how close you are to others requires a knowledge of the physics of how the radio works. The developers who sold the idea to Matt Hancock were app level – they knew how to do pretty screens, but seemed oblivious to understanding what was going on at the radio level. But nobody wanted to listen when there was £11.8m to be spent and no questions asked.

    Sadly, because young Matty believed that an app would solve everything, the old fashioned approach to track and trace was delayed. It is low tech, but it works, and that delay cost lives.

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