Background: Smartphone-based contact tracing apps can contribute to reducing COVID-19 transmission rates and thereby support countries emerging from lockdowns as restrictions are gradually eased. Objective: The primary objective of our study is to determine the potential uptake of a contact tracing app in the Dutch population, depending on the characteristics of the app. Methods: A discrete choice experiment was conducted in a nationally representative sample of 900 Dutch respondents. Simulated maximum likelihood methods were used to estimate population average and individual-level preferences using a mixed logit model specification. Individual-level uptake probabilities were calculated based on the individual-level preference estimates and subsequently aggregated into the sample as well as subgroup-specific contact tracing app adoption rates. Results: The predicted app adoption rates ranged from 59.3% to 65.7% for the worst and best possible contact tracing app, respectively. The most realistic contact tracing app had a predicted adoption of 64.1%. The predicted adoption rates strongly varied by age group. For example, the adoption rates of the most realistic app ranged from 45.6% to 79.4% for people in the oldest and youngest age groups (ie, ≥75 years vs 15-34 years), respectively. Educational attainment, the presence of serious underlying health conditions, and the respondents’ stance on COVID-19 infection risks were also correlated with the predicted adoption rates but to a lesser extent. Conclusions: A secure and privacy-respecting contact tracing app with the most realistic characteristics can obtain an adoption rate as high as 64% in the Netherlands. This exceeds the target uptake of 60% that has been formulated by the Dutch government. The main challenge will be to increase the uptake among older adults, who are least inclined to install and use a COVID-19 contact tracing app.

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Jmir Mhealth and Uhealth
Institute for Medical Technology Assessment (iMTA)

Jonker, M., De Bekker-Grob, EW, Veldwijk, J., Goossens, L., Bour, S.S., & Rutten-van Mölken, M. (2020). COVID-19 contact Tracing Apps: Predicted Uptake in the Netherlands Based on a Discrete Choice Experiment. Jmir Mhealth and Uhealth. doi:10.2196/20741