Cafes and restaurants storing hundreds of sheets of customer contact details could soon be a thing of the past, following the creation of an ACT government app aiming to simplify contact tracing while quelling privacy concerns.
Developed by ACT Health, the Check In CBR app allows patrons to save their details and check into each venue they attend by scanning a QR code or entering a six-digit number.
The contact information would be automatically sent to ACT Health and stored for 28 days for use by contact tracers to identify people who could have been exposed to COVID-19.
Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the app, which came at a cost of $110,000, would simplify the process by sending patron details directly to ACT Health.
"We've heard from customers that writing your name and phone number on a piece of paper that's going to be visible to others is a bit of a concern, and we've heard from businesses that keeping all of that information in a way that's going to be accessible for 28 days can be difficult," she said.
"This all continues to be voluntary, we don't require people to provide their contact details but we really encourage them to."
It is a welcome change for Coffee Lab general-manager Eli Jordan-Taylor who has a folder filled with hundreds of sheets of names and numbers.
He said would be difficult to go through if he had to hand it over to disease detectives.
"We've kept tabs on people coming into the cafe for about four months now and it's all been on paper, we've got about three or four hundred sheets of paper with everybody's names on it," he said.
"It's going to make a big difference."
Ms Stephen-Smith said the app would also mitigate the likelihood people would give a fake name or number when signing in.
She confessed no one could be stopped from entering fake details into the app but said it was more likely they would not check-in at all.
ACT Health chief information officer Peter O'Halloran said the app provided better privacy protection than the current system.
"This app is much safer than the existing processes now, filling out pieces of paper or using QR systems that you don't know where the data goes," he said.
"We're collecting it solely for the purpose of contact tracing, it is isolated into a single area that only has access to that data for that purpose.
"After 28 days we delete that data. It's as simple as that, it's a name, it's a phone number it's nothing else."
The app functions completely differently to the federal government's COVIDSafe app which uses bluetooth to locate potential contacts of positive COVID-19 cases.
The app is currently available for iPhones and will be available for android phones in the next few days.