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Wednesday 20 May 2020

NHSX and jHub to track COVID-19 with third-party app data

NHSx jHubIt’s been revealed that NHSX and the MoD's Strategic Command innovation hub, jHub, have set up Project OASIS to collect data from third party app-providers in order to help the NHS respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Academics and commercial entities who have been collecting data through Symptom Tracking apps, which encourage citizens to submit their symptoms and basic demographic data, will be asked to securely share their data with the NHS whilst protecting user privacy. 

The project is only working with apps that meet the NHS Digital Health Technology Standard or have been assessed against the Digital Assessment Questionnaire. The list of apps currently includes Agitate Ink C-19Connected CognitionCorona-Help.UKEvergreen LifeLet's Beat COVID-19TrackTogether and Your.MD.

NHSX has made it clear that the OASIS project is only collecting data that is required by the NHS to understand the spread of COVID-19 at a national and local level, it is not looking at individual citizens or their individual medical needs. Nevertheless, with the NHS’ own contact-tracing app still facing questions over its security and data protection credentials, the OASIS project will undoubtedly raise further data privacy concerns. 

To try to allay these fears, NHSX has said that data collectors (the app providers) will send selected data around symptoms experienced to the secure OASIS platform, OASIS will not receive data that can identify individuals. jHub, acting as the data processor, will take further steps to ensure the data is anonymised. The data will be encrypted in transit and storage, the platform has been reviewed from a cyber security perspective, and the project meets the requirements of data protection legislation. 

Posted by: Tola Sargeant

Tags: nhs   healthcare   covid-19  

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