STAT+: Smartphone apps promised to help combat the pandemic. How well did they work?

When the pandemic hit, tech giants like Apple and Google as well as upstart technology companies marched out new tools aimed at curbing the crisis. Now, more than two years into the pandemic, we are getting a clearer answer to a crucial question: Did they work?

A new review paper, published Monday in Nature Biotechnology, explores the wide range of apps rolled out to combat the pandemic by monitoring cases, tracking the virus’ spread, keeping tabs on symptoms, and more. Some of those apps brought clear benefits, while others fell short. They also sparked a bevy of questions about the role of technology in health care, including how best to preserve patient privacy.

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