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Reasons for nonuse, discontinuation of use, and acceptance of additional functionalities of a COVID-19 contact tracing app : cross-sectional survey study

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Abstract
Background: In several countries, contact tracing apps (CTAs) have been introduced to warn users if they have had high-risk contacts that could expose them to SARS-CoV-2 and could, therefore, develop COVID-19 or further transmit the virus. For CTAs to be effective, a sufficient critical mass of users is needed. Until now, adoption of these apps in several countries has been limited, resulting in questions on which factors prevent app uptake or stimulate discontinuation of app use. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate individuals' reasons for not using, or stopping use of, a CTA, in particular, the Coronalert app. Users' and nonusers' attitudes toward the app's potential impact was assessed in Belgium. To further stimulate interest and potential use of a CTA, the study also investigated the population's interest in new functionalities. Methods: An online survey was administered in Belgium to a sample of 1850 respondents aged 18 to 64 years. Data were collected between October 30 and November 2, 2020. Sociodemographic differences were assessed between users and nonusers. We analyzed both groups' attitudes toward the potential impact of CTAs and their acceptance of new app functionalities. Results: Our data showed that 64.9% (1201/1850) of our respondents were nonusers of the CTA under study; this included individuals who did not install the app, those who downloaded but did not activate the app, and those who uninstalled the app. While we did not find any sociodemographic differences between users and nonusers, attitudes toward the app and its functionalities seemed to differ. The main reasons for not downloading and using the app were a perceived lack of advantages (308/991, 31.1%), worries about privacy (290/991, 29.3%), and, to a lesser extent, not having a smartphone (183/991, 18.5%). Users of the CTA agreed more with the potential of such apps to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic. Overall, nonusers found the possibility of extending the CTA with future functionalities to be less acceptable than users. However, among users, acceptability also tended to differ. Among users, functionalities relating to access and control, such as digital certificates or "green cards" for events, were less accepted (358/649, 55.2%) than functionalities focusing on informing citizens about the spread of the virus (453/649, 69.8%) Conclusions: Our results show that app users were more convinced of the CTA's utility and more inclined to accept new app features than nonusers. Moreover, nonusers had more CTA-related privacy concerns. Therefore, to further stimulate app adoption and use, its potential advantages and privacy-preserving mechanisms need to be stressed. Building further knowledge on the forms of resistance among nonusers is important for responding to these barriers through the app's further development and communication campaigns.
Keywords
Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health, Health Informatics, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, coronavirus, contact tracing, proximity tracing, mHealth, mobile app, user acceptability, surveillance, privacy

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MLA
Walrave, Michel, et al. “Reasons for Nonuse, Discontinuation of Use, and Acceptance of Additional Functionalities of a COVID-19 Contact Tracing App : Cross-Sectional Survey Study.” JMIR PUBLIC HEALTH AND SURVEILLANCE, vol. 8, no. 1, 2022, doi:10.2196/22113.
APA
Walrave, M., Waeterloos, C., & Ponnet, K. (2022). Reasons for nonuse, discontinuation of use, and acceptance of additional functionalities of a COVID-19 contact tracing app : cross-sectional survey study. JMIR PUBLIC HEALTH AND SURVEILLANCE, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.2196/22113
Chicago author-date
Walrave, Michel, Cato Waeterloos, and Koen Ponnet. 2022. “Reasons for Nonuse, Discontinuation of Use, and Acceptance of Additional Functionalities of a COVID-19 Contact Tracing App : Cross-Sectional Survey Study.” JMIR PUBLIC HEALTH AND SURVEILLANCE 8 (1). https://doi.org/10.2196/22113.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Walrave, Michel, Cato Waeterloos, and Koen Ponnet. 2022. “Reasons for Nonuse, Discontinuation of Use, and Acceptance of Additional Functionalities of a COVID-19 Contact Tracing App : Cross-Sectional Survey Study.” JMIR PUBLIC HEALTH AND SURVEILLANCE 8 (1). doi:10.2196/22113.
Vancouver
1.
Walrave M, Waeterloos C, Ponnet K. Reasons for nonuse, discontinuation of use, and acceptance of additional functionalities of a COVID-19 contact tracing app : cross-sectional survey study. JMIR PUBLIC HEALTH AND SURVEILLANCE. 2022;8(1).
IEEE
[1]
M. Walrave, C. Waeterloos, and K. Ponnet, “Reasons for nonuse, discontinuation of use, and acceptance of additional functionalities of a COVID-19 contact tracing app : cross-sectional survey study,” JMIR PUBLIC HEALTH AND SURVEILLANCE, vol. 8, no. 1, 2022.
@article{8736752,
  abstract     = {{Background: In several countries, contact tracing apps (CTAs) have been introduced to warn users if they have had high-risk contacts that could expose them to SARS-CoV-2 and could, therefore, develop COVID-19 or further transmit the virus. For CTAs to be effective, a sufficient critical mass of users is needed. Until now, adoption of these apps in several countries has been limited, resulting in questions on which factors prevent app uptake or stimulate discontinuation of app use. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate individuals' reasons for not using, or stopping use of, a CTA, in particular, the Coronalert app. Users' and nonusers' attitudes toward the app's potential impact was assessed in Belgium. To further stimulate interest and potential use of a CTA, the study also investigated the population's interest in new functionalities. Methods: An online survey was administered in Belgium to a sample of 1850 respondents aged 18 to 64 years. Data were collected between October 30 and November 2, 2020. Sociodemographic differences were assessed between users and nonusers. We analyzed both groups' attitudes toward the potential impact of CTAs and their acceptance of new app functionalities. Results: Our data showed that 64.9% (1201/1850) of our respondents were nonusers of the CTA under study; this included individuals who did not install the app, those who downloaded but did not activate the app, and those who uninstalled the app. While we did not find any sociodemographic differences between users and nonusers, attitudes toward the app and its functionalities seemed to differ. The main reasons for not downloading and using the app were a perceived lack of advantages (308/991, 31.1%), worries about privacy (290/991, 29.3%), and, to a lesser extent, not having a smartphone (183/991, 18.5%). Users of the CTA agreed more with the potential of such apps to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic. Overall, nonusers found the possibility of extending the CTA with future functionalities to be less acceptable than users. However, among users, acceptability also tended to differ. Among users, functionalities relating to access and control, such as digital certificates or "green cards" for events, were less accepted (358/649, 55.2%) than functionalities focusing on informing citizens about the spread of the virus (453/649, 69.8%) Conclusions: Our results show that app users were more convinced of the CTA's utility and more inclined to accept new app features than nonusers. Moreover, nonusers had more CTA-related privacy concerns. Therefore, to further stimulate app adoption and use, its potential advantages and privacy-preserving mechanisms need to be stressed. Building further knowledge on the forms of resistance among nonusers is important for responding to these barriers through the app's further development and communication campaigns.}},
  articleno    = {{e22113}},
  author       = {{Walrave, Michel and Waeterloos, Cato and Ponnet, Koen}},
  issn         = {{2369-2960}},
  journal      = {{JMIR PUBLIC HEALTH AND SURVEILLANCE}},
  keywords     = {{Public Health,Environmental and Occupational Health,Health Informatics,COVID-19,SARS-CoV-2,coronavirus,contact tracing,proximity tracing,mHealth,mobile app,user acceptability,surveillance,privacy}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{1}},
  pages        = {{17}},
  title        = {{Reasons for nonuse, discontinuation of use, and acceptance of additional functionalities of a COVID-19 contact tracing app : cross-sectional survey study}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/22113}},
  volume       = {{8}},
  year         = {{2022}},
}

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