As the world is reeling from the effect of the Coronavirus, the first potent medium in combatting its pre-pandemic state were the essential information that was issued to the public on the nature of the virus, the precautions needed to be taken, health practices and lifestyle changes in the hopes of combatting the pandemic.
In a world where information is dispersed to millions of socially-connected newsfeeds and aggregated timelines on social media, the spread of fake news in the form of satire articles, hoaxes and fake news all have dire repercussions. In combatting fake news and misleading information that dilutes the vital information that must be distilled into people’s timelines, companies such as Facebook and Google have begun flagging sources of these fake news.
In combatting not only the coronavirus and the cascading misinformation, companies are turning to Blockchain technology in order to make “trust” an aforementioned factor. When we say trust as aforementioned, we mean that users or other organizations who are reliant on information dissemination will have very little doubt on the authenticity, veracity and integrity of the information being sourced.
In ensuring that the information structure consisting of data, information and collation are built on zero-trust, frameworks such as the Hedera Hashgraph, a public distributed ledger technology, is among the platforms that are being used by agencies and data companies to ensure that trustiness of data has zero doubt on its integrity and authenticity. One such example of Hedera being used to construct factual data visualization is based on the company, Acoer. Acoer is a Blockchain development company and has developed several data visualization applications that are Blockchain-enabled. One such application is the recent data visualization tool against coronavirus. According to Acoer CEO, Jim Nasr, the future of the internet is going to be based on ‘computational trust’ where information and its integral authenticity are safeguarded based on Blockchain and its protocols.
In Acoer’s data visualization application, vital information from sources such as CDC, World Health Organization, and clinicaltrials.gov are filtered into the system with vital time-stamped adage and cross-referenced with meta data in order to guarantee information authenticity. Nasr, the former Chief Software Architect at the Center for Disease Control under the Barrack Obama Administration, uses Hedera’s trust architecture to reinforce the integrity of information that will be disseminated.
Contract Tracing through Blockchain
In suppressing the spread of the Coronavirus across localities, the identification of possible carriers have resulted in contact tracing procedures. The procedure stems from knowing the people that the COVID-19 patient has come in contacted with and healthcare authorities dispatching personnel to isolate the said people that are probable with the infection. The procedure is no short work of becoming a medical detective; questioning patients, extracting information about the people who they have been in contact with. Given the situation where more patients are being placed into the medical quarantine intake, the number of contact tracing cases piles up and this is by nature a KYC procedure.
In Villanova University, Hasshi Sudler, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is leading the effort in the development and research of a Blockchain use case that can aid the contact tracing of medical professionals. The project, labeled as COVID-19 Contact Tracing Blockchain is a permissioned network of medical professionals all having access to the medical test results of COVID-19 cases where they can collaborate and share information on such cases. Furthermore, the system works with IoT and AI enabled technologies to survery high-risk areas of possible contamination. On such events where a public gathering occurs, the Blockchain network creates as a general notification that informs all permissioned parties. This will allow them to strategize, plot outcomes and react quickly.
China’s Rapid Response with Blockchain
Early in 2020 when provinces in China experienced pandemic levels of infection, provinces such as Shaanxi have reportedly utilized a Blockchain ecosystem that connects with the national government, national healthcare and other provincial healthcare organizations on their collaboration to hash secure the personal information of patients affected and be able to quickly disseminate information securely .To add, the Economy and Information Technology Department and in collaboration with Zhejiang Provincial Health Commission, utilized a medical supply chain powered by Blockchain to monitor and track the logistical movement of pharmaceutical supplies.
Moreover, the Chinese national government also praised the swift and efficient use of Blockchain information systems to combat misinformation that could have stemmed out of the panic and situation during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic in China.
Technologies Co-opting Blockchain
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlighted Blockchain as among the turnkey technologies that could combat future pandemics alongside the Internet-of-Things, Artificial Intelligence and Big-data analytics. Labeled as the big four ‘inter-related technologies’, the CDC outlined potential use cases of these technologies to better combat pandemics in the future. Basing on the relation and integration of these converging technologies, Blockchain will play a vital role in the ecology of these integrated technology whereas Blockchain becomes an essential backbone for trusted information.
As we know, information is the key to organize world-wide and local actions against pandemic. The efficiency and integrity of Blockchain will reinforce those efforts which can lead to better healthcare outcomes for all.
This article is published on BitPinas: [DynaQuest] How Health Organizations are Enlisting Blockchain to Battle Coronavirus and its Effects