How to enable COVID contact-tracing with NHS COVID-19 app

By John Allen

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) recently launched its contact-tracing app to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. It aims to notify people if they have spent a dangerous amount of time close to somebody who’s tested positive for COVID-19.

The NHS app was downloaded six million times on its launch day according to gov.uk, making it one of the fastest-growing examples of customer support technology. Despite its rapid adoption, however, some people are still skeptical about the contact-tracing software. 

Image courtesy of unsplash.com

What is the NHS COVID-19 app?

The NHS COVID-19 app is a free app developed for the UK’s National Health Service in conjunction with Google and Apple. Users’ smartphones share data with each other, allowing the NHS to notify them if they’ve been in contact with a person who’s tested positive for COVID-19.

People who use the NHS contact-tracing app can scan QR codes at entry points. This automatically puts them into the track and trace system, which saves time filling out forms and will improve service quality

How does the NHS COVID-19 app work?

The app works by sharing ‘tokens’ with other smartphones via Bluetooth. When two people spend more than a few minutes within two meters of each other, their phones swap tokens. Think of it as a professional development strategy for your mobile.

If one of the individuals tests positive for COVID-19 and opts into the contact-tracing app, the other person then receives a notification telling them to self-isolate. 

The app does not store geodata and cannot identify you to other users. Privacy is one of the biggest concerns when making the transition to telehealth. People of all ages agreed it was very important that the UK protected people’s privacy when it came to contact-tracing. 

Image courtesy of statistica.com

Three reasons why you should use the app

As well as improving contact-tracing in the UK, the NHS has taken measures to ensure privacy is not a concern when using the COVID-19 app. For example, they do not store or conduct a customer journey data analysis.

With everyone getting used to a technology-driven future, by adopting systems like a virtual phone and fax service, the contact-tracing app was a logical step. There are three main reasons you should consider downloading it:

  1. To find out if you have been in contact with someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19;

  2. To automatically enter information into the track and trace system;

  3. To protect those who are most vulnerable.

Will it work on my phone?

Most people can download the NHS COVID-19 app from an app store. Apple and Google have worked together to make sure it’s as efficient as possible, aiming to nab the leading spot on the CCaaS magic quadrant

The NHS app works on any iPhone up to five years old. This is frustrating for iPhone 6 users, as their phone was released six years ago.

The software uses Bluetooth data to contact-trace, and the data must be as accurate as possible. Only iPhones that run iOS 13.5 or above can run the NHS COVID-19 app with the level of accuracy needed for contact-tracing.

If you own one of the following devices, you can run the NHS COVID-19 app: iPhone 6s Plus; iPhone SE (1st generation); iPhone 7; iPhone 7 Plus; iPhone 8; iPhone 8 Plus; iPhone X; iPhone XS; iPhone XS Max; iPhone XR; iPhone 11;  iPhone 11 Pro; iPhone 11 Pro Plus; iPhone SE (2020). You can also download the app if you own an iPod Touch 7th Generation. 

You can also download the app if you own an iPod Touch 7th Generation. 

Android users can use it on phones up to five years old too.

Installing the NHS COVID-19 contact-tracing app

In these changing times, many of us are still struggling with how to create WFH policy rules and regulations, and more still are looking for ways to keep themselves safe. If you want to install the app, search “NHS COVID-19” in your app store. 

One thing to note is that the NHS COVID-19 app has been created for residents of England and Wales. Scottish residents should use their specific contract-tracing app.

Enabling contact-tracing on the NHS COVID-19 app

The first thing you need to do is turn on COVID-19 exposure notifications. 

How to turn on COVID-19 exposure notifications

To do this, follow these instructions:

° Open Settings.

° Select “Exposure Notifications.”

° Tap “Turn on exposure notifications.”

 ° You will be shown a page explaining how your iPhone can alert you if you have been exposed to COVID-19. Tap “Continue.”

° Select your country.

Now that COVID-19 exposure notifications are enabled on your iPhone, it’s time to set up your contact-tracking app. Here’s how:

° Open the NHS COVID_19 app.

° Enter the first part of your post code when prompted.

° Enable COVID-19 exposure logging and notifications.

° If you believe you have symptoms, enter them in the app. You’ll then be told if it’s necessary to get a test.
° If you have symptoms and the app recommends you get tested, it will direct you to a site where tests can be booked. You will also see a 10-day isolation countdown. Keep in touch with friends and family on video calls and avoid contact wherever possible.
° If you receive a positive test result, you’ll receive a code that can be entered into the app. The NHS COVID-19 app will then automatically alert people you’ve been in contact with.

Time to save lives

Do you think the NHS is on track to be one of the 50 leading SaaS companies? If they improve the efficiency of contact-tracing in England and Wales then they should become contenders.

After reading this article, you will be able to install and set-up the NHS COVID-19 app on any iPhone that runs iOS 13.5 or later. You should also have learned how to turn on exposure notifications.

Most importantly, you’re in a better position to protect yourself, protect those who are most vulnerable, and save lives.

John Allen, director and global SEO at RingCentral, a global UCaaS, VoIP and contact center services provider. He has over 14 years of experience and an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs. He has written for websites such as The Stevie Awards and Clicdata.