(Pocket-lint) - The NHS is building a second smartphone app to track the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The Financial Times said the NHSX faced criticism of its first app, which recently launched in the Isle of Wight, so it is developing a second app that uses Google and Apple's contact tracing system. It is being made “in parallel”, with Matthew Gould, head of NHSX, giving the "go-ahead" to the new project earlier this week. The first NHSX app is said to collect more data in a central database.
More than 40,000 people on the Isle of Wight have been testing the NHSX app for a week. The Island’s Conservative MP told The FT that many residents have reported problems such as difficulties downloading and even receiving false alerts. The NHS has reportedly been facing pressure within the government and the media over the first app's issues, including ethical and even battery life.
The NHS' contact tracing system currently being tested in the first NSHX app stores anonymised data about COVID-19-infected individuals and their contacts in a central database, while Google and Apple's approach handles the data at a system level, decentralising that data.
Add it all up, and the NHS seems to have realised it needs to have a back-up plan, including developing a second app that uses Google and Apple's contact tracing system. But no decision has yet been made on which NHS app will be released.
Apple and Google expect to release the first version of their contact tracing system, via a software update, in mid-May.