4 ways CIOs should approach, market contact tracing efforts

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From Apple and Google's joint system to developing in-house solutions, healthcare CIOs must choose the appropriate COVID-19 contact tracing approaches for their hospitals and communities, according to David Chou.

In a June 22 Forbes article written by Mr. Chou, who serves as CIO of Houston-based Harris Health System, he explains that while contact tracing presents privacy challenges such as individuals not wanting to share personal information, it is up to CIOs to "use their political capital behind closed doors to move things forward." 

"Unfortunately, many state health officials have chosen to shun technology pretty much altogether and to resort to manual efforts for contact tracing…" Mr. Chou wrote. "…This is a classic example of technologists coming up with a good idea, but failing to market it effectively enough to influence the broader agenda."

Four things CIOs can do to support contact tracing efforts, according to Mr. Chou:

1. Use platforms such as Apple and Google's to create hospital or community-focused contact tracing apps and focus first on a smaller target audience, such as the hospital's employee base.

2. Evaluate current portfolio of solutions to rule out whether their respective organization already has the software and data resources to create contact tracing tech.

3. For CIOs who do not have extensive access to software development tools, consider ramping up their internal software development teams, find software development partners or enact contact tracing capabilities within current solutions if available.

4. Think creatively about how to best position and promote contact tracing efforts to effectively persuade people to opt in to them and share their private information, such as location data and test results.

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