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Blockchain’s Role in Controlling the Spread

with Hasshi Sudler ‘92 EE, adjunct professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and chairman and CEO, Internet Think Tank

Hasshi Sudler '92 EE
Hasshi Sudler '92 EE

Since its inception in 2008, blockchain technology has made significant advancements and been introduced into different areas of use. Few of them are as critical as medicine and sustaining medical facilities. The outbreak of the COVID-19 global epidemic has brought blockchain technology into the limelight as it can play an important role in containing the spread of the virus. As individuals travel across borders, medical facilities need immutable, trustworthy medical data quickly and electronically. A critical requirement to contain coronavirus is to track any individual having tested positive and to track the health of anyone who has come in contact with that individual, even if those encounters were across borders. The blockchain can be a common source of data that allows medical facilities to share immutable information internationally.

With the potential for travelers to provide false information about symptoms and travel history, medical facilities need a method to share trustworthy data with one another in real-time about individuals tested, their test results, and test kits used (as some kits proved faulty).

Another requirement for controlling the spread of the virus is to validate quality medical advice while also identifying misinformation that could be circulating in society. In the event of a pandemic, misinformation can be extremely dangerous. The public needs a way to confirm official statements made by reputable sources.

While social media may be a popular source of information, it can also be a means of spreading myths, conspiracies and opinions often presented as facts. The blockchain can serve to verify quality advice the public should follow versus false claims the public should disregard.

Hasshi Sudler is developing a platform to contain COVID-19 by utilizing blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Internet-of-Things (IoT) technologies to help medical facilities track coronavirus cases globally. The system uses a private blockchain shared among medical facilities around the world to publish coronavirus test results between doctors on a trusted, immutable ledger. IoT and AI are used to survey public spaces where high-risk gatherings can take place and trigger alerts over the blockchain. Such alerts will assist healthcare providers in making strategic, life-saving decisions of how to allocate medical staff and equipment already in short supply.