‘We are not here to enforce; we are here for the people’ Factors influencing performance of contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic: A qualitative study

Fraukje E.F. Mevissen*, Babette van Deursen, Helene A.C.M. Voeten, Anita J.C.M. Watzeels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: 

Provider-initiated contact tracing (CT) is an important measure to slow down the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19. However, carrying out effective CT depends on the collaboration between the patient and the contact tracer. To improve CT, it is important to understand which factors influence contact tracers in being able to carry out CT during large pandemics. 

Methods: 

We performed individual semi-structured interviews with nine contact tracers working for the COVID-19 unit of the Public Health Service (PHS) Rotterdam-Rijnmond, the Netherlands, to explore their experiences with carrying out CT. Data were collected between July 2020 and December 2020. The interview protocol was structured based on the CT tasks and guided by the literature and the framework explaining adherence to clinical practice guidelines. 

Results: 

In general, CT seemed to be carried out satisfactorily. Individual factors (interviewing techniques and skills, attitude towards the patient and attitude towards CT), factors related to the patient (cooperativeness and engagement, emotions, language and culture and (mis)information), guideline-related factors (characteristics) and factors related to the organisation (interactions with colleagues, support from management, workload and training) were found to influence the carrying out of CT. 

Conclusion: 

To be well prepared for future pandemics, it is important to explore strategies that can be effective to support the contact tracer in performing CT, support patients in feeling comfortable to be engaged and ways to reach more consistency in policies and protocols.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Public Health Research
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.

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