Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain can help the world fight against future pandemics. Experts have pointed out that blockchain technology holds promising security solutions. It constructs immutable ledgers of transactions for medical data sharing systems.
Dinh C. Nguyen, a student member of, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, believes all health data storage servers, such as the cloud in the COVID-19 data collection, would be controlled autonomously by the blockchain. He highlighted that data usage over the network is always reflected on the blockchain for tracing. “More importantly, blockchain coupled with the smart contract technology eliminates the reliance on central servers to ensure fairness among transaction parties, such as patients, hospitals, governments and provide effective access control over data usage.”
Nguyen acknowledged that blockchain, with its distributed nature, can work well when any party fails due to its decentralized nature. It can support well for reliable COVID-19 analytics. It should be noted that in the emergency epidemic situation, many sources of COVID-19 data are collected from hospitals, the public, and media without being protected, which can lead to COVID-19 data modifications. And this would impact the correctness of the collected data, which in turn reduces the reliability of the COVID-19 analysis process.
Experts believe this is where blockchain technology can play a significant role. A study highlights that blockchain ensures the correct ordering of the COVID data records from the data sources to the destinations, such as clinical labs and hospitals, due to consensus mechanisms. This also brings about high-quality data collection.
Blockchain has already been applied in infectious epidemics like the African Ebola. The emerging technology was used to conduct real-time Ebola contact tracing, transmission pattern surveillance, and vaccine delivery. The study says this application revealed that blockchain’s cryptographic feature can help prevent unsecured data sharing between patients and healthcare providers. In regards to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, blockchain can help fast-track vaccine and drug trials. It can also be used to track COVID donations and support the management of outbreaks and treatments.