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Will the COVID-19 pandemic boost access to personal health care records? Smartphone data access to tackle the modern pandemic
  1. Charles Edmund Breeze1,
  2. Charlotte Murkin2,
  3. Matt Lechner1,2
  1. 1 UCL Cancer Institute, University College London, London, UK
  2. 2 The Royal London Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Matt Lechner, UCL Cancer Institute, University College London, London, UK; m.lechner{at}

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As indicated by C Baraniuk in the BMJ, a fact that has become increasingly clear in the current COVID-19 pandemic is the wide disparity of success in disease control between different countries. For example, South Korea has had a remarkable success in controlling the pandemic by limiting the focal spread of cases, at least in part due to the application of stringent COVID-19 testing and containment strategies, as well as giving its citizens access to rapidly updated COVID-19 records and healthcare information.1–3 Indeed, technologies for focal containment have become such a pressing issue that some countries, such as the USA, are creating specific mission-critical data partnerships for smartphone approaches to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic (such as the partnership with Apple).4

While smartphone data access can be a key tool for the National Health Service (NHS), the view of the public is often missing from related discussions. In a UK-based survey, conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic, we found …

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  • Contributors CEB performed data analysis. ML designed survey. CEB, CM and ML wrote the paper.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.