Two local firms develop community-based free mobile app to combat COVID-19

Tuesday, 16 June 2020 01:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Two Sri Lankan software companies Empiricalminds Ltd. and Zone24x7 Ltd. have pooled their resources to develop a free mobile application system called “SafeTrack” to support existing nationwide efforts to combat COVID-19.

The solution is by enabling a mobile-based community-driven contact-tracing application to trace the associates who have interacted with COVID-19 infected persons.

Empiricalminds Ltd. Chairman Dr. Prasanna Lokuge said SafeTrack uses QR code-based interaction readings for an encounter between users. This information is stored in a centralised database server. SafeTrack adopts a community-driven approach through which participating users exchange QR code information by scanning another person’s QR code.

If a person happens to fall ill with COVID-19, and if the person had used the SafeTrack, the Ministry of Health (MOH) can access his or her SafeTrack interaction data to retrieve details of their past interactions with others to initiate and provide timely percussive actions to mitigate the risk of spreading it further among the community. SafeTrack will also automatically send alerts to everyone who interacted with the COVID-19 infected person for necessary corrective action.

According to Dr. Lokuge, the home-grown solution was developed because Sri Lanka lacks electronic mechanisms for identifying the interactions with COVID-19 positive cases. Another is the difficulties in accessing contact tracing history data with date and time. Non-availability of timely notifications or alerts to persons who had contact with COVID-19 patients and non-availability of a centralised system for accessing and sharing of COVID-19 related data between various Government authorities are the other reasons.

Dr. Lokuge said SafeTrack resolves these challenges.

The most important benefit of the SafeTrack App is it is a free mobile app. The larger goal of the solution is to facilitate the eradication of COVID-19 from Sri Lanka.

Other benefits and features include speedily and efficiently identify the persons who have had close associations with a COVID-19 infected person and automatically notify each one of them to seek immediate medical assistance. The MOH and other intelligence services can use SafeTrack to locate people who interacted with an infected person during the past very quickly.

Developers said SafeTrack can be used at meetings / events to identify the participants and their recent interactions in addition to in factories / banks / government institutes /private companies /schools / education institutes / quarantine centers / shops and other places to easily identify the persons who visited, when they were infected, date they visited and other information for necessary action.

SafeTrack can also generate various queries and reports required by MOH for managing and monitoring COVID-19 operations in Sri Lanka.

“The required security precautions have already been very seriously considered and implemented in the SafeTrack App to assure the highest level of security of confidential personal data in the system,” Dr. Lokuge added.

To assure SafeTrack to be a very important useful app in the COVID 19 eradication process in Sri Lanka, they said it is of vital importance that COVID-19 infected patients' data have to be entered into the system in a timely manner.