WA Notify: the planning and implementation of a Bluetooth exposure notification tool for COVID-19 pandemic response in Washington State
Bluetooth exposure notification tools for mobile phones have emerged as one way to support public health contact tracing and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Many states have launched their own versions of these tools. Washington State's exposure notification tool, WA Notify, became available on November 30, 2020, following a one-month Seattle campus pilot at the University of Washington. By the end of April 2021, 25% of the state's population had activated WA Notify, one of the highest adoption rates in the country. Washington State's formation of an Exposure Notification Advisory Committee, early pilot testing, and use of the EN Express system framework were all important factors in its adoption. Continuous monitoring and willingness to make early adjustments such as switching to automated texting of verification codes have also been important for improving the tool’s value. Evaluation work is ongoing to determine and quantify WA Notify’s effectiveness, timeliness, and accessibility.