Digital contact-tracing system supports Wales’ Test, Trace and Protect

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A digital contact-tracing system has been launched to support the Wales Test, Trace and Protect service.

The all-Wales system, based on a customer relationship management database, allows people who have tested positive for the virus to input the contact details of close contacts to streamline the process.

Upon testing for Covid-19, the NHS Wales Test, Trace and Protect service will contact each patient by telephone.

The individual will be asked where they have been recently and anyone they have had close contact with, what symptoms they had and the date symptoms started.

Once those who have tested positive have input the details of contacts into the digital tracing system via a web-form, members of the tracing service will get in touch with those contacts to inform them they need to isolate for 14 days as a precaution.

During self-isolation, daily monitoring of close contacts is managed through the contact tracing system.

Depending on individual choice, monitoring can be via text message or a personal call from an advisor. Email and automated phone monitoring services will be introduced shortly to expand the monitoring options.

All information is fed back directly into the contact tracing system with alerts flagged for people who are not feeling well.

Helen Thomas, interim director of the NHS Wales Informatics Service, said: “This was a phenomenal piece of work by all involved, achieved in very short timescales – 40 days from start to finish. We now have the technology base needed for a robust scalable national response to contact tracing.”

The system was rapidly developed by the NHS Wales Informatics Service, working collaboratively with Welsh Government, Public Health Wales, seven health boards and 22 local authorities.

In May business communications company, Solgari, was awarded a £2.9 million contract for the provision of a telephony and digital engagement system to work within Wales’ contact tracing solution.

Solgari will support the delivery of Ca, the contact tracing solution to be used in Wales in response to Covid-19.

The solution would enable all communication and functionality through Microsoft Dynamics, including voice, chat, SMS, compliance and security, according to the tender notice.

This would enable the Dynamics CRM to be accessed and used by call handlers whether they are based in local authorities, health boards, trusts or other locations.

England, Scotland and Wales are implementing their own tracing systems, with a contact-tracing app developed by NHSX.

The roll-out of the app was delayed in June when the government abandoned it’s model in favour of Apple and Google’s contact tracing technology. No date for the rollout of the app, which has so far cost £11.8m, has been confirmed.

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