A BENDIGO researcher has examined the use of technology worldwide in the battle against COVID-19.
The work surveys the use of various apps on mobile phones across the globe.
Monash School of Rural Health research adjunct Danielle Couch said the study aimed to develop an understanding of technology used for public health, to inform future developments.
Dr Couch conducted the review in collaboration with researchers from the La Trobe School of Public Health.
In a rapidly changing environment around COVID-19, much of the study's information was gleaned from online news studies and government websites.
Dr Couch said these mobile app were an important supporting strategy to help in the fight against coronavirus outbreaks.
Dr Couch said COVID-19 apps fell into three main categories, contact tracing, symptom monitoring and information provision.
She said apps were an important addendum to other COVID-19 control measures.
"They are one important strategy along with those other strategies that we need in place," she said.
"We know large proportions of the population now have smartphones and are using apps in multiple ways in their lives.
"How can we leverage the fact that most people are wandering around with smartphone? What does that mean from a public health perspective?"
Dr Couch said apps needed to be taken in their cultural and political context. Features that might be acceptable in some countries could be seen as an invasion of privacy in others, she said.
Australia's anti coronavirus app COVIDSafe has drawn criticism for its limited success in identifying close contacts of known cases not found by other contact tracing.
The app was also criticised for functionality problems on iPhones, which required users to have their phones unlocked for the app to run effectively.
The study is available online.
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