While the world battles with the Covid-19, widely know as the Corona Virus, many technology innovators are working to assist researchers, healthcare providers, clinical labs and government, one of those is JustChain, a blockchain startup that is part of Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund Accelerator ( MBRF) in the UAE and based in both Dubai and the USA. UNLOCK spoke with Akbar M. Farook, Founder and CEO of Justchain to help understand what they are working on.
The solution provides a supply-chain component
As Farook explains, ” CoronaChain™ is a blockchain application that allows to share critical case information, securely with concerned health providers, clinicians, government authorities, researchers, laboratories, etc. so immediate care and attention can be provided to the patient affected by COVID-19. Additionally, the solution provides a supply-chain component and connects medical equipment suppliers and hospitals so information regarding equipment/medical supplies (e.g. PPE, ventilators) can be shared seamlessly between the entities in the supply chain.”
He adds, ” the application was built on IBM’s Hyperledger Fabric utilizing Microsoft Azure platform to provide the solution as a service. It also utilizes ChainCode for smart conracts.”
As for the Blockchain platform it allows authorized participants (health care providers, clinicians, govt. health departments, researchers, medical equipment suppliers, labs, etc.) to join a consortium and share critical information related to a patient affected by the coronavirus (e.g. age, gender, a potential source of contact for contact tracing, test results, treatment status, hospital and physician info, underlying symptoms, if any, etc. ). For example, using CoronaChain™, lab test results can be shared with authorized entities — hospitals, PCP’s, public health departments, in real-time, without having to wait for days or hours to get the results back.
Visibility into the hospital’s resource status
The solution also provides visibility into the hospital’s resource status. Let’s say the patient was admitted at a hospital and was tested positive for COVID-19, the hospitals’ resource status — e.g. ER doctors and nurse’s availability, bed availability, etc. can be shared on the blockchain so if an overflow situation arises other hospitals in the area can assist efficiently.
Coronachain™ allows authorized suppliers of medical equipment (e.g. respiratory equipment) and personal protective equipment (e.g. masks, gowns) to track, in real-time, the demand from hospitals, labs and treatment facilities that are treating COVID-19 cases and provide just-in-time services, all the while maintaining strict control over privacy and what information is being shared (with the help of SMART Contracts).
The solution uses “channels” for participants to privately and discreetly exchange information with each other. For example, a Channel can be created just between the patient and the hospital and primary care physician and no one else. Other participants who are part of the consortium will never know or have access to that data.
The patient’s history or progress can be viewed from the application as a sequence of events as shown in the screenshot below. If an authorized entity wants to check the details of any of the patient’s statuses from the history they can click the “View The Blockchain” button to see the details. This retrieves the data from the transaction block(s) stored in the blockchain network showing the chain of events. And because the solution is on the blockchain, there is an inherent trust in the data exchanged by the entities which is a big plus when it comes to credentialing the source of data.
Farook explains, ” given the fact that we don’t have time to develop integrations with hospitals, labs, manufacturers etc.. we are requesting that the information is updated onto the platform and once it is there it will be tracked and supplies, equipment, patient records can be tracked and analyzed.” We hope to reduce the time and increase the trust by using SMART Contracts — a.k.a Chaincode to automatically execute business processes based on the policies established by the participating entities in the blockchain network at the time of initiation.”
The solution offers transparency and high visibility (with privacy factored in) into the progress of the infected patient, among others, so health care providers and the like can provide the necessary care and attention required in real-time. CoronaChain™ also tracks if a recovered patient was infected the second time which is valuable data for doctors, researchers and scientists alike.
Tracking patients who have recovered from COVID-19
Additionally, in a new effort approved by the FDA (Federal Drug Administration, USA) as of March 24th, Coronachain will be extending this solution to also be able to track patients who have recovered from COVID-19 and are willing to donate their blood plasma to help as an antidote to treat persons affected with COVID-19 virus.