Healthcare Informatics & Health Information Technology (SIG Health)

Paper Type

Complete

Paper Number

1690

Description

Contact tracing is used to identify individuals who have been in close contact with any person who has a presumed or confirmed COVID-19 infection. This paper examines one particular contact tracing centre established in Ireland between March-June 2020. We leverage a critical realist-based philosophical framework and associated methodology to seek the generative mechanisms that determined how this contact tracing centre evolved over its lifetime. Drawing on 14 semi-structured interviews, we hypothesise a total of three mechanisms: the motivation and altruistic nature of superusers and other volunteers; the information systems and communications infrastructure built around the contact tracing centre; and, the training and associated support structures provided to volunteers. Our research suggests that attention should be focussed on developing highly flexible information systems and the identification of superusers as project champions. A significant contribution of this work is providing clear operational guidance for establishing contact tracing centres in Ireland and globally.

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Aug 9th, 12:00 AM

Information Systems, People and Support Structures: A Critical Realist Analysis of a COVID-19 Contact Tracing Centre

Contact tracing is used to identify individuals who have been in close contact with any person who has a presumed or confirmed COVID-19 infection. This paper examines one particular contact tracing centre established in Ireland between March-June 2020. We leverage a critical realist-based philosophical framework and associated methodology to seek the generative mechanisms that determined how this contact tracing centre evolved over its lifetime. Drawing on 14 semi-structured interviews, we hypothesise a total of three mechanisms: the motivation and altruistic nature of superusers and other volunteers; the information systems and communications infrastructure built around the contact tracing centre; and, the training and associated support structures provided to volunteers. Our research suggests that attention should be focussed on developing highly flexible information systems and the identification of superusers as project champions. A significant contribution of this work is providing clear operational guidance for establishing contact tracing centres in Ireland and globally.