NHS Scotland teams with Microsoft on track and trace
Written by: Richard Hook | Published:
Screenshot from the NHS Scotland track & trace app “NHS Scotland has created a QR code solution that can help quickly identify locations that a COVID-19 patient has visited", Michael Wignall, Azure Business Lead at Microsoft UK

Microsoft UK has partnered with NHS Scotland to design a COVID-19 track and trace system for businesses, as lockdown restrictions ease around the country.

According to a statement, the mobile-based solution uses QR codes, taking the user to a secure Scottish government website where they can provide their name and contact details.

The contact information from the QR codes goes to NHS Scotland’s cloud-based 'data lake,' leveraging Microsoft Azure. The data is fully encrypted and only available to NHS Scotland contact tracers.

Microsoft - again, according to a statement - only provides the cloud platform and has no access to any of the data, all of which is deleted after a set period of time.

Speaking of the system, director of digital and security at NHS Scotland, Deryck Mitchelson, said: “The QR code solution is seamless and removes all that work from business owners. They register for the initiative and place the QR code poster in their workspace where customers can scan it. They don’t have to do anything else, and can focus on providing great service.

“We know that a delay in contact tracing can help the spread of the virus. If it takes three days to get in contact with someone, they could have the virus and be potentially spreading it. If a patient has scanned a QR code, we can understand where they have been within minutes. The quicker you track and trace, the quicker you break the transmission chain.”

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