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ECE Faculty Lead Blockchain Project to Track Electronic Medical Records in Response to COVID-19

Hasshi Sudler and Dr. Xun Jiao

Hasshi Sudler ’92 EE, an adjunct faculty member in Electrical and Computer Engineering, is a leading voice on the topic of blockchain. Currently, he is spearheading an effort to track electronic medical records over a blockchain to help stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus. “The blockchain can be a common source of data that allows medical facilities to share immutable information internationally,” he explains. His work on this project has attracted the attention of numerous sources, including MoveYourMoney.org, Coindesk.com and Cryptonewsz.com, and that attention recently resulted in a presentation to the US House Energy and Commerce committee.

Along with Assistant Professor Dr. Xun Jiao, Sudler presented the background and use cases of a blockchain solution for contact tracing. Villanova was one of three panelists on the conference call, which included Toyota on 3-D printing face shields for hospitals, and Jacksonville Transportation Authority on the use of autonomous vehicles to transport COVID-19 test kits.

Brannon Rains, a policy analyst at the House of Representatives, responded to Dr. Jiao and Sudler’s presentation, writing, “We have received a lot of good feedback from both sides of the aisle on your experience and insights into blockchains. We would greatly appreciate the opportunity to learn more about your work as it continues to develop.”

Sudler notes one significant development in particular: The Villanova University COVID-19 blockchain team has partnered with R3, an enterprise software firm that works with a broad ecosystem to develop on Corda, its open-source blockchain platform, and Corda Enterprise, a commercial version of Corda for enterprise usage. Corda enables businesses to transact directly and in strict privacy using smart contracts. Sudler says, “This partnership provides Villanova with access to the company’s enterprise version of the application and invaluable technical expertise and experience for building specific features on Corda to improve COVID-19 contact tracing.”

Given Sudler’s expertise and passion for the project, we can expect to see further coverage of his work in a variety of outlets.

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