The HPZone software that the GGDs use to enter data on source and contact research is not suitable as a central system, as is currently used during the COVID-19 epidemic. This is evident from a manual for the system distributed by umbrella organization GGD GHOR de Volkskrant.
The imperfections became publicly visible when the RIVM was unable to report the full figures of the number of new infections on October 24 and October 28 due to problems with the software.
According to de Volkskrant it went wrong the first time because a link between HPZone and other software (CoronIT, in which corona test appointments are scheduled and the results can be viewed) did not work. The second time, HPZone became overloaded after thousands of source and contact researchers logged in at the same time.
One explanation is that HPZone is intended for use by local GGDs, but not as a national system. HPZone “provides no support during a major nationwide public health crisis,” according to the message circulated by the GGD umbrella, said de Volkskrant.
Those involved tell in de Volkskrant that despite HPZone’s imperfection, they have to make do with what they have. The use of an alternative WHO system, specially made for source and contact research during epidemics, was not an option during the first wave at the beginning of this year.
“It is also a consideration that you have to make,” says Susan van den Hof of the RIVM de Volkskrant. “Implementing a new system in the middle of a crisis can also go completely wrong. The question is whether you would have wanted to take such a risk.”
NU.nl has made inquiries with the GGD GHOR, but has not yet received a response.