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COVID Health Status Certification on Blockchain, a real use case to solve real problem

Covid blockchain healthcare

World wants to reopen and reopen desperately.

The US government is busy designing a plan to open up the US for business in phases. There is also another outcry about resurgence of infections if we open too soon or open without a proper plan.

We may not overcome the virus altogether and we need to think about how we can open ‘in spite’ of the virus.

Blockchain might hold the key in helping solve a real problem in a real crisis: Health Status Certification.

Blockchain can verify without disclosing

Creating digital IDs over blockchain and layering that with medical information without compromising the identity or other sensitive information is one great use case right now that should be tapped into.

Apart from identification and verification of health status (that is, COVID-19 status), blockchain tools can also help trace and track the movement of individuals.  

Those who have not contracted the virus or those who have developed the anti-bodies and no longer pass the infection could be categorized in the green category.

Those who are susceptible to the virus without any underlying conditions should be in the orange.

Those who should be in quarantine and those with the risk factors can be monitored as a red category.  

By simplifying the categories to track – the populace can be tracked based on the movement and clusters and ensure that red is not getting mixed up with other categories.

This will require a certain amount of sacrifice of privacy.  

Privacy will be compromised, blockchain can minimize the extent

As we plan to return back to normalcy, certain things will forever change. One of them will be privacy.

You may very well be required to disclose your ‘health’ status at every facility you enter into. Instead of having that data managed by a ‘for profit’ organization who could theoretically exploit the data for other purposes, we should think about leveraging blockchain to protect privacy to the extent we can.

Even if the data is moved – it will leave an audit trail. No one can tamper with it. This immutability is absent in most traditional systems that can be overridden with right permission status.

Solutions are already being built and tested

The blockchain system to trace, track and verify health status has already been tested by TerraHub which initially prepared the tool to help the Oil and Gas industry and later deployed it to healthcare professionals.

“For example, if a cable company worker who previously tested negative receives a positive test, the system has a blockchain record of every house the technician visited to help pinpoint where the infection may have been picked up—and which houses need to be notified of possible exposure,” Elena Dumitrascu, CTO of TerraHub Technologies explains.  

A solution like the one TerraHub developed can help trace and isolate individuals who have been exposed with ease, as long as the individuals in the service industry are on some system.

You could procure the same data using traditional systems but it will take a lot of time that is crucial in pandemic situations.

Blockchain can help verify the PPE, medication and other essentials

Blockchain’s use case doesn’t stop at certifying individual health status, it can also be used to verify the entire supply chain of PPE, medication and other essential shipments.  

IF a product is defective or subpar, it can be traced to the manufacturer and remedial actions can be taken in a matter of hours instead of days or weeks.

It also helps to track the authenticity of medication received. Last thing anyone wants is to get counterfeit medication.

Initiative should come from big corporations and the government

Initiatives to leverage technology like Blockchain and IoT in the time of crisis like this should come from big corporations (Walmart has already initiated a massive blockchain initiative for food last year) and the Government.

Blockchain can help in tracking back while dealing with a complex supply chain. When all the vendors participate in the blockchain supply chain – it will be easy to trace back ‘each unit’ back to its original manufacturer and mend the issue right away without disrupting the entire supply chain or having to recall every unit.

Without such a leverage, companies could end up spending days or weeks tracing back the origin.

Blockchain and crypto are finding purpose during this crisis

The US government introducing digital dollar plans, Chinese government piloting Digital Yuan and the countries around the world working on their own currency plans are all bringing attention back to the crypto space.

The need of the hour in the supply chain and privacy aspects are bringing attention to blockchain technology.

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Thank you for reading and sharing this article. Stay safe and healthy!

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