Qualtrics rolls out contact tracing tools for COVID-19, bets self-reporting anonymously will work

The company, owned by SAP, is aiming to streamline contact tracing by allowing individuals to self-report their COVID-19 status and anonymously notify people that have been in contact with them.

Qualtrics is using its experience management platform to enable contact tracing for COVID-19 infections as enterprises and governments begin reopening offices and meld remote work.

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The company, owned by SAP, is aiming to streamline contact tracing by allowing individuals to self-report their COVID-19 status and anonymously notify people that have been in contact with them.

Enterprise technology vendors have raced to offer various platforms to manage work through a pandemic. Recent efforts include:

Qualtrics also said that the City of Houston is rolling out the contact tracing tool to contain COVID-19 clusters. The effort is opt-in and designed for health departments and local governments trying to monitor COVID-19 transmission among contacts.

Citizens can use Qualtrics' XM Platform to share locations they have visited and individuals with whom they've come into contact. Qualtrics then automatically notifies impacted individuals with next steps and safety measures.

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All the data in the contact tracing platform is controlled by government agencies and doesn't use automatic location tracking. That point may turn out to be key given that contact tracing apps using location and smartphone apps have struggled in the field

Now Qualtrics contact tracing software does rely on individuals self-reporting, but if they can do so anonymously there may be fewer concerns to participate. The workflow goes like this:

  • If a person tested positive for COVID-19 and is contacted by their local health department, an email/text message is sent requesting a list of contacts and locations.
  • A confidential email/text is generated and sent to those contacts with a COVID-19 test scheduled through the platform.
  • If there is no response to messages, call center contact tracers can call infected people and conduct interviews.
  • If a contact shows signs of infection or tests positive, the process is repeated.

Although Qualtrics is rolling out contact tracing to government agencies, the company did note that companies can also use the platform.

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