Bringing an Exposure Notification Mobile Solution To Market: 10 Lessons-Learned from the Trenches

We have been heads down the last few weeks helping many jurisdictions bring their resources together with our team to build COVID-19 exposure notification solutions that leverage the Google Apple Exposure Notification (GAEN) API. We’re building on the PathCheck free and open source GAEN platform, which lets us quickly turn around solutions. Each solution is configured to meet the unique needs and workflows of the states and countries where it will be deployed. We are excited about the progress we have made and the more than 50 million people we plan to empower to help stop the spread of Coronavirus.

We are proud to be a trusted partner working in many jurisdictions and we are excited that we have successfully scaled our operation to be able to help many more. Working in the trenches we have learned a lot and we felt the need to share these insights with the world. Whether or not you are using the PathCheck COVID-19 app, hosting server, analytics server or someone else’s system – we believe we are all in this together and any GAEN app launched is a win for all humanity in the fight against this pandemic.

There are 10 lessons-learned that any jurisdiction needs to consider before embarking on a GAEN solution:

  1. Set up a Cross Functional Team – Successful GAEN deployments require collaboration between technology service, the department of health, executive branch, communications, and legal. Everyone should be at the table on day one.
  2. Choose an Established Technology Solution – The exposure notification app market has rapidly matured. There is no good reason to start from scratch, instead of choosing one of the established open source solutions. The leading solutions are open source, which will lower costs and prevent vendor lock-in.
  3. Find a Good Partner – This is a specialized field so finding a partner who can work with your team holistically on every aspect of the technology and health program launch is critical.
  4. Start Planning Communications and App Branding Early – If you are using an established open-source solution, generally putting together a great communication program will take longer than putting the technology solution together.
  5. Integrate with Your Existing COVID Response Programs – Exposure notification should be one part of a multi-prong effort, so tieing the branding and communication together creates value.
  6. Involve Community Stakeholders in Your Launch – The best launches are leveraging the support of major businesses, sports teams, celebrities, community leaders, public officials, and others. Launch a community solution not just a department of health solution.
  7. Plan Ahead for Test Verification Code Integration – We’re seeing that integrating with existing systems to distribute test verification codes is the second longest timeline aspect after communications. Start designing for this on day one.
  8. Don’t Delay Your Hosting Decision – The industry is moving to the Google Exposure Notification Server as the leading open source project. In the US you can choose to be on your own state instance or the national instance. Picking your hosting solution early will ensure the server configuration does not delay launch.
  9. Stay on Top of GAEN API Changes – The GAEN API is developing quickly, and it’s important that your team and solution stay up to date with the changing API, which is adding important new features almost every week.
  10. Submit to the App Stores Early and Often – App store approvals are a key part of getting the app live. An app built with an existing open source solution and a partner with established relationships with Google and Apple will help, but we recommend making regular submissions during customization to make sure you are ready for launch.

We are proud to be a trusted partner with many jurisdictions in providing a customized app and implementing a digital health system for managing COVID-19 response. These solutions empower over 50 million people to stop the spread of the virus. We remain committed to delivering free, open source software for digital contact tracing, exposure notification, case management, and other transformative digital public health solutions to any state or country. We are excited with our progress and have our eyes set on the next 100 million users as we strive to stop the pandemic.

Interested in learning more about our COVID-19 app? We can get a jurisdiction up and running in under 30 days.

Feel free to contact us.