Peter Muennig, Professor of Health Policy and Management, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

TrackTogether is a web- and phone-based app that is designed to push survey data into a W3C data lake. The data lake is to contain all available information on Covid-19. The primary purpose is to allow for efficient contact tracing that not only includes notification of contact with an individual that is likely infected with Covid-19, and also provide a heat map of where infected individual have been. The heat map will vary according to risk, such that outdoor, sun exposed surfaces will be given a very short viral half-life, but indoor areas will be given a relatively long half-life. Using this feature, those who are not registered as having been in contact with the individual may learn whether they have been to a potentially contaminated space. Likewise, businesses and employers will be able to quickly shut down operations if needed in order to disinfect surfaces or quarantine potentially exposed employees.
With respect to research, the data lake can be accessed through TrackTogether. It will be possible to push a survey to users (and pay the users for participating) and then link the survey to information about individual exposures, immunity, or other variables that are pertinent for the study. The data lake would contain the university-wide database.
With respect to telemedicine, because the app allows surveys to be pushed to users, it can be used by providers to monitor Covid-19 patients with minimal staff time and greater adherence to clinical guidelines than is normally afforded by telemedicine. For instance, a provider can automatically push out symptom surveys to the patient. If the patient’s symptoms indicate the need for medical intervention, then the app can guide the patient to the nearest hospital with available capacity. This information can also be uploaded to the data lake.

Partners: TrackTogether seeks to both utilize and conform to all existing data standards. TrackTogether is completely not-for-profit, but is in the process of partnering both with government entities (e.g., the National Health Service in the UK) and with private entities (e.g., KPMG).