What Is Contact Tracing?


As some state and local governments move to re-open, we’re hearing more about contact tracing. Since many Americans may be unsure of its meaning, we thought it might help to explain how this process may impact us.

Massachusetts seems to be out front, already working to hire and train nearly 1,000 people to do contact tracing. Other health departments have formed teams to begin the process, which consists of identifying and isolating anyone exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 patient. Here’s how it typically works:

  • Health officials call a person who recently tested positive for the virus.
  • The patient describes where they have gone and who they interacted with during the 48 hours prior to their symptoms appearing.
  • Health officials then reach out to these businesses and individuals to inform them that they may have been exposed to the virus.
  • People who were in close contact with this individual for several minutes are advised to self-isolate for 14 days.

Technology developed by Apple and Google is expected to identify people who have come in contact with a person infected by the virus. While this makes far more sense than expecting someone to remember exactly where they’ve been, concerns about privacy are still keeping these apps from being rolled out in the U.S.


Say Goodbye to Commercial-Free Waiting Rooms

Waiting-RoomIf the television in your doctor’s waiting room isn’t yet mixing paid commercials with educational videos, get ready for the fast-growing form of marketing called “point of care” advertising. It’s just one of several ways that technology companies are helping medical device and drug companies reach patients.

In addition, tech companies are also beginning to provide advertising on tablets given to patients in exam rooms and on screens mounted on the wall to offer information about various medical treatments. These companies are also bringing Wi-Fi into doctor’s offices, encouraging patients to opt in to receive notifications from their physician – ad-supported of course. These days it can seem like advertising is everywhere – and it’s looking more and more like your physician’s office is no exception.