BOSTON — Massachusetts health officials want to explore the possibility of using cellphones as a tool for contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to DPH, the request for responses is seeking teams to work on at least three projects. One would validate the functionality of the technology, another would compare the Apple and Google technology to similar third-party applications and the third would conduct a review of privacy and security issues.
Specifically, DPH is seeking communities such as colleges, local municipalities or businesses to run a pilot test of the technology.
"The Command Center continues to evaluate new technology to help stop the spread of the virus and has put out this RFR to help validate new technology that could complement traditional contact tracing, which is a tried and true approach to stemming infectious disease spread," a spokesperson said. "Since April, using traditional phone calling as the method of contact tracing, local health departments and the Community Tracing Collaborative have identified 233,000 confirmed cases and contacts for outreach, completing outreach with 91 percent of cases and 80 percent of contacts."
Apple and Google announced their effort to create a contact tracing function within their devices in April.
Several countries and other states have already adopted the technology or something similar. New York, for example, has the COVID Alert NY app.