May 6, 2020

App for tracking coronavirus contacts trialled in Finland

app tracing illustration
Vaasa Central Hospital seeks to be at the forefront of finding tools for solving the crisis.
Topias Dean / Sitra

Vaasa Central Hospital is poised to commence trials for Ketju, a Finnish app designed to help healthcare professionals to identify people who have been exposed to the novel coronavirus.

Using Bluetooth technology, the app anonymously records encounters between its voluntary users to not only make the identification of infection chains faster and more accurate, but also help to manage the workload of healthcare staff and offer citizens a concrete way to contribute to the fight against COVID-19.

Delivered by 2M-IT, Ketju is indented to support, rather than replace, the testing and tracing efforts of healthcare authorities.

Employees of Vaasa Central Hospital will adopt the app during the pilot and mimic the actions of citizens and healthcare authorities after simulated coronavirus diagnoses. No authentic patient information of the participants will be used in the trial scheduled to start by the end of May.

“We want to be at the forefront of finding tools for solving the crisis,” stated Marina Kinnunen, director of the Vaasa Hospital District.

Funded by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, the trial is part of a collaborative effort launched at the initiative of Business Finland. The different options for developing a national tracing solution have been explored for weeks by Fraktal, Futurice and Reaktor.

“Our study has had two guiding principles: the solution must meet the strict data protection and privacy requirements, and it must be possible to implement the service in Finland,” summed up Paavo Punkari, vice president at Futurice.

The trial is among the first to use a decentralised approach to contact tracing based on DP-3T in Europe.

“The key objective of the pilot is to provide observations and test results to various parties so that a successful national implementation will be possible in the future. Our starting point is that any solution must genuinely benefit both citizens and health authorities,” said Sampo Pasanen, managing director of Reaktor Finland.

Good News from Finland is published by Finnfacts, which is part of Business Finland.

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