March 20, 2020 | Xing Brew
A framework for geo-tracking healthcare workers

Open-source tools for tracking healthcare workers' locations during the COVID-19 pandemic

Healthcare workers (HCW) are especially high-risk for COVID-19 infection and by extension, their contacts (including people they live with, those they treat, and all other individuals they interact with in their everyday life) are also at high-risk of infection. Protecting healthcare workers’ contacts is vital to supporting their work, as well as to preventing large-spread disease transmission from HCWs to society.

Technology already exists to track the location of individuals via smart-phones. Lots of it! We can and should use this technology to track the movements and locations of healthcare workers so that if a HCW tests positive for COVID19, we can quickly, automatically, and accurately determine who they have been in contact with and, consequently, who else may require screening or confinement. In other words, we can automate, scale, and optimize epidemiological investigations and contact-tracing.

Databrew has identified tools to compile a simple framework of open-source tools for tracking healthcare workers' locations. We're calling the suite BCV - "busca y captura el virus" (search and arrest the virus). It's a system for tracking the locations of healthcare workers so that when one gets sick, public health agencies, hospitals, ministries, and any organization managing workers who are at high-risk of infection, can see where the worker has been and therefore whom they may have exposed. Anyone can deploy the BCV tracking system to monitor the movement of their HCWs and other at-risk individuals.

Tracking with BCV is done passively via an open-source smartphone application (Traccar). The system can be launched by an IT professional in approximately one hour. And it takes about 3-5 minutes for each healthcare worker to install and configure their phones for tracking. Workers register via a "Shiny" web application. All data is stored in MySQL and the entire system can be run on open-source Linux Ubuntu servers.

If you are interested in setting up BCV at your facility or organization, you can either:

  • Get your IT team to follow THIS GUIDE to deploy your own system, or
  • Request Databrew to deploy a system for you by emailing us at
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