Covid-19 has brought the world into a halt. The economy and markets, in general, are adversely affected. Technology, such as the blockchain technology may be the answer to dealing with the pandemic. As much as there have been many controversies regarding blockchain and cryptocurrencies in general, it has been widely adopted in dealing with the pandemic. Crypto enthusiasts may, therefore, use it as a means of dealing with the pandemic.
There are many issues faced by the healthcare systems that make it hard to deal with the pandemic. There are privacy and security issues since the health systems are centralized. Epidemiologists are also facing a challenge as they have to deal with data efficiently, and yet there is a lot of data, and the health systems are outdated. Corona data management is also an issue, especially when it comes to tracking the cases. Underreporting is also experienced, as the cases of corona on the ground is higher than that reported. There are no enough test kits, and also there are many infected people who do not have symptoms, hence they have not been tested. In many places, there is no innovation in healthcare systems.
Blockchain may be the answer to dealing with such issues. Some of the ways blockchain may be the solution to dealing with the pandemic include:
With the pandemic, the lack of the right information, or difficulty in sharing information is common. There is so much information that it may be hard to verify the right information. Blockchain has been used to fight that.
WHO in partnership with several IT companies, launched a blockchain platform for sharing data that concerns the COVID-19 pandemic. The main aim of the platform, MiPasa, is to enable early detection of the pandemic carriers and identify infection hotspots. Through the platform, private sharing of information is possible. The privacy of the patient is assured, due to the nature of blockchain technology. The platform uses AI to detect epidemiological trends, which are useful in decision making.
In Madrid, developers developed an Iota Tango platform, that enables a decentralized peer to peer data sharing ecosystem.
Blockchain has also been used for health surveillance. This can help to prevent and control the spread of the pandemic. The blockchain surveillance system has helped health agencies to access data, that has helped in decision making. The best part about a blockchain surveillance system is that it can be used even in areas where there is poor connectivity, it is cheap, and will give you real-time updates of information. Since it is based on blockchain technology, there is decentralization, and hence the data is decentralized and can be used by several organizations
Most of the time, healthcare systems have outdated medical records, which are inconvenient when it comes to the pandemic. Through blockchain technology, you can get decentralized medical records with real-time updates. A patient is also sure that their information is safe. Since it is a decentralized system, the information can be accessed from anywhere, and it can help deal with the pandemic. Since blockchain is immutable, the information cannot be manipulated, or tampered with, making it very accurate.
Medical supply chain
With the pandemic, the normal supply chain has been disrupted. There are some items such as masks and ventilators that are on high demand, and the supply is slow. There is no central body for procuring medical supplies. With the rise in demand, the current health care systems are forced to verify the suppliers and their credibility, which slows down the supply process. Blockchain may, however, be the solution to that. It will offer a mechanism for updating the requirements, can verify the credibility of suppliers, can use smart contracts to secure financial payments, can quickly validate customs certifications, and can help to track the transportation of the supplies. That makes the medical supply chain more efficient and fast, which is very important in dealing with the pandemic.
The pharmaceutical sector is maximizing on blockchain technology to ensure that the drugs comply with the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA). An example is MediLedger which is a blockchain platform for tracking pharmaceuticals.
The government of China has embraced blockchain technology to be able to track and manage the donations it is getting for dealing with the pandemic. This has helped it to use the donations efficiently, and that has helped in easier management of the situation. That has also helped to encourage more donations. Blockchain being decentralized helps to increase transparency which, in turn, helps to prevent misappropriation of funds.
Blockchain is widely getting adopted by medical insurance companies. With blockchain, there is increased transparency, which makes it easy to access all the patient’s records and easy management of claims. The process is fast and cheaper. Smart contracts ensure timely payments, as it is easier to know when the premium has expired. An example is LumenLab, that is using blockchain to automate insurance claims. In addition to that, blockchain can also be used for providing directories for insurance if one is looking for insurance. This can be very helpful in dealing with the pandemic.
Managing Food and agriculture supply chain
As much as there is a lockdown in most places, the essential services are still on demand. One of the critical areas is the food and agriculture supply chain since people still have to eat. That explains why the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) included blockchain managers for food and agriculture, as critical workers. Blockchain can be used to track and manage the food and agriculture supply chain.
The possible applications of blockchain technology during this pandemic time is limitless. The strong factor of blockchain technology is its transparency and immutable open ledger. That can help to seal gaps that are currently being experienced as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. That explains why there are many blockchain applications in China for dealing with the pandemic. Even after the pandemic, there will be more blockchain adoptions with time.
Image from Flickr