4 Ways Blockchain Can Help Us Prevent Future Pandemics

Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic has infected and killed thousands of people around the world that has forced governments to implement emergency measures. Right now, almost the entire world is practicing social distancing and people are locking themselves up in their homes. Governments are using sophisticated technologies such as artificial intelligence, data science, and Blockchain to address this issue.

Blockchain is being used by several governments for managing medical data, healthcare IT systems, and sharing information. Scientists are now considering Blockchain as an important tool in enhancing the existing healthcare systems and preventing future pandemics.

The Role of Blockchain in Pandemic Prevention

Many countries are struggling to battle COVID-19 due to the loopholes in their healthcare systems. Lack of data security, data management, and exchange and poor surveillance systems – these issues can be resolved using Blockchain Technology.

1. Data management

As a huge amount of medical data is being produced due to COVID-19 infection, everything needs to be stored and secured properly. Blockchain can be used to handle medical records, maintain its integrity, and also handle real-time data. This will help scientists during data analysis.

Data collection can be automated using Blockchain. As Blockchain stores data in ledgers and they are protected against unauthorized access, patient privacy will be maintained. Data such as patient names, treatments, and progress can be stored. This data can be made available for all specialist doctors, which will help in treatment, diagnosis, and research for discovering a vaccine.

2. Healthcare surveillance

Blockchain can be used to develop a decentralized surveillance system that will not depend on any central authority. This will make sharing and releasing of data easier. Both local and national agencies can have access to surveillance data. Doctors, government agencies, healthcare officials, testing centers and morgues can all contribute to this surveillance data ledger. 

These people can serve as nodes on the Blockchain. When the system reaches an outbreak threshold, it will send warnings to all the nodes. So, prevention strategies can be implemented beforehand.

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3. Spreading awareness 

Blockchain ledgers are immutable, and can only be modified when parties who have created it give permission. So, sensitive health data can be secured here. Every change can be traced back to its origin. This data – such as the total number of deaths and total infected patients – can be made available to the public. This will help the government spread awareness and implement preventive measures. As measures such as social distancing need cooperation from the public, this step will help government agencies gain the required public support.

Also learn: Coronavirus [COVID-19] Tips: Frequently Asked Questions

4. Tracking infections

As all medical data surveillance and storage will increase transparency among various departments, this will result in more accurate reporting. Better reporting will, in turn, lead to faster processing of health data. It will enable doctors and scientists to track infections before they transform into an epidemic.

Scientists can track down the virus origins efficiently using Blockchain. They can review a patient’s symptoms, recovery, and monitor data in real-time. This will immensely help in controlling the transmission and analyzing the current situation.

How Countries are Using Blockchain to Tackle the COVID-19 Pandemic?

So, to answer the question “How to prevent pandemics?”, we need to look at examples of how countries like China and Singapore are using Blockchain. 

A leading Chinese courier service, SF Express uses Blockchain to send essential supplies to people. They use the technology to track, record, and verify each transaction. This helps them to manage their supply chain better and ship goods faster to people during these uncertain times. 

In Singapore, a company called Algorand Foundation launched a Blockchain-based application called IReport-Covid. This allows users to fill up an online form anonymously and report any data they have about the virus. This informs more people about the virus with real-time data and spreads awareness. Learn how data science can help us prevent future pandemics.

Conclusion

By now you must have the answer to “How to prevent pandemics?” using Blockchain. The technology can assist in drug development, creating preventive policies, treatment plans, vaccine verification, and drug trials – all of which will cumulatively help in preventing pandemics such as COVID-19 in the future. 

There is a rise in careers in blockchain technology and blockchain has tremendously changed the very face of the technology industry forever. If you’re interested to become a blockchain developer and build smart contracts and chaincodes, checkout IIIT-B & upGrad’s PG Certification in Blockchain Technology.

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