UK's JoinZOE mines user data to build predictive maps
More than 3 million people in the UK have downloaded the JoinZoe COVID Symptom Tracker, which was designed by doctors and scientists at King's College London, Guys and St Thomas' Hospitals working in partnership with the health science company ZOE Global Ltd and endorsed by governments and NHS in Scotland and Wales, and supported by numerous UK health charities. The app asks for some basic information, including an email address, after which it asks you to check in once a day to say whether you have symptoms of COVID-19 and whether you've had a test. The data is mined to build a prediction of how many people have symptomatic COVID-19 across the UK, and the researchers plan to develop a computer model that can predict whether someone is likely to have the disease based on characteristic clusters of symptoms in order to relieve some of the pressure on testing. They will test the model by offering diagnostic tests to 10,000 app users a week. The project says users' data is protected by GDPR, that it tries to collect as little personally identifiable information as possible consistent with the requirements of the research, that the data will be used by the researchers and data scientists at ZOE and may be shared with the NHS, and anonymised data may be shared with partner research institutions, some of which are located in the US.