When the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world, many governments and organizations sought new ways of working together to best mitigate and overcome the virus outbreak in their countries and regions.
The partnership between the Austrian Red Cross and the Austrian government is an example of a swift collaboration tackling this unprecedented global crisis. Part of the world’s largest humanitarian organization, the Austrian Red Cross plays a key role in the government’s crisis response team.
Contact tracing is a proven strategy for reducing the basic reproduction number (R) of a virus, indicating how many new cases one infected person generates on average. Without measures taken to curb transmission, experts estimate that the rate of new infections would grow exponentially until about 70% of the population has been infected.
So, when virus cases were confirmed in Austria, the health authorities set their sights on tracing, identifying, alerting and isolating people who have been exposed to infection. Such contact-tracing solutions had been effective in containing the spread of pandemics in the past. But the process has historically been manual and labor intensive.
The Austrian Red Cross believed that smartphone technology could help it respond more rapidly to new outbreaks by tracing past contacts of a patient through an app. Among the first of its kind in Europe, the technology should be effective and secure from the day it launched. For help in creating that groundbreaking solution, the organization turned to Accenture.