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Parliamentary group sees post-pandemic role for blockchain in healthcare

19/06/20

Mark Say Managing Editor

Blockchain technologies can play a significant role in supporting health services in the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new briefing paper.

Chains

The All-Party Party Parliamentary Group on Blockchain has published the report from its evidence session on the post-pandemic role of the distributed ledger technology in April.

It says that in order to bounce back from the economic downturn, and the extreme pressures on its public services, the country needs radical innovation to its data infrastructure, as opposed to fixing technologically redundant systems.

The paper includes a strong emphasis on healthcare, making the case that the decentralised, autonomous and self-sovereign identity features of blockchain can make a positive difference in the sector. In principle the technology could be used to trace interactions with people diagnosed with the disease while preserving their privacy and security.

It could also enable the health service to protect patients’ electronic records, and could be used for tracking, tracking and controlling the use of vaccinations, prescriptions, other infections and medical records.

Trust potential

APPG says that blockchain has the potential to solve issues around digital trust, providing people with a more secure digital identity, and that government could become a model user of blockchain.

It proposes that every national government should set up an emergency taskforce on medical data to start planning and implementing blockchain initiatives to help cope with a future wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. This would come with legislation around which stakeholders could mobilise, the creation of self-sovereign identities and citizen owned health records, and pilots for the use of blockchain.

In addition, they should work with medical professional associations and others to implement blockchain based credential systems.

Image by Michael Fisch, CC BY 2.0

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