To say that the world was shaken by the Covid-19 pandemic would be an understatement. The novel coronavirus has truly pushed us into a ‘new normal’ thanks to repeated lockdowns, supply chain disruptions, and shutting down of international borders.
If there was a silver lining that emerged during the pandemic, it was the accelerated use of technology to revive businesses and return to some form of normalcy.
But most importantly, world-class research and innovation facilitated the development of vaccines in record time. To ensure worldwide distribution of vaccines and getting people vaccinated, the latest digital technologies including AI and data played a key role.
Today, most parts of the world are breathing a little more easily having administered the vaccine to their citizens, reducing the number and intensity of the coronavirus infection. However, we are not completely out of the woods. This is mainly because the vaccine itself could not be administered to all (for various reasons) and there has also been a disparity in the rate of vaccination across various countries.
Under such circumstances, is traveling wise, and if yes, then how can we ensure carriers do not slip in with the vaccinated?
According to a survey conducted by Ipsos of over 21,000 people in 28 countries, 78% supported the view that travelers should carry Covid passports. A Covid-19 or e-vaccine passport is a record that certifies that the individual concerned has been vaccinated against Covid-19 and that he or she recently tested negative for the virus. This document should be accessible electronically (that is, on mobile phone apps) or as a printed document or card with a QR code.
Indeed, many countries such as Canada and member countries of the European Union (EU) require a vaccine-linked passport to confirm the traveler’s vaccination status. While dramatically reducing the time needed to scan documents and also reducing the number of documents travelers will have to carry. Most importantly, it ensures that vaccination and relevant healthcare information is easily accessible (by authorized personnel) whenever needed.
Standardizing and Harmonizing eHealth Passport
One of the challenges that is emerging is the absence of data standards, processes, and interoperability. Therefore, the World Health Organization (WHO) is working with member states to leverage technology and create a standardized e-vaccination certificate. It has also, of course, cautioned against mandating a certificate due to there being “still critical unknowns regarding the efficacy of vaccination in reducing transmission”.
However, this requires a framework to be harmonized and there are other bodies such as the Common Trust Network that are working on it. Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI) is another coalition body of health and technology leaders that is working towards providing individuals with digital access to their vaccination records based on open, interoperable standards.
Security and data privacy are the major concerns that need to be addressed by any passport management system linked to the e-vaccine and blockchain can play an important role based on common data standards and data management processes.
Digitech Labs’ eVaccine & Health Information – Passport Management System
Digitech Labs’ team of technology experts with deep expertise in serving the healthcare ecosystem is developing a passport management system that is compliant with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act) and GDPR (European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation) norms. The solution leverages blockchain technology to ensure:
- Electronically-protected health information
- Data integrity and protection against tampering
- Integration with Heterogeneous Data Ecosystems for information exchange based on the healthcare standards driven by HL7 / FHIR for data interchange
- Portability based on predefined ‘levels of information access controlled by the on-chain SmartContracts based on data privacy and protection laws
- Available, visible, and trusted with the distribution of anonymized data signatures creating an ecosystem of ‘Trust Owners’
Digitech’s blockchain solution, powered by CHAINTrail USA Trust Ecosystem based on the Ethereum’s Quorum, is a secure data interchange that makes standards-based data management possible. As part of the global suite of Health Records Wallet Solutions short-listed by Microsoft, CHAINTrail is compliant with the VCI’s SMART Healthcard Framework which is essentially following the standards – W3C Verifiable Credentials and HL7 on FHIR.
About Digitech Labs
Digitech Labs is a Seattle-based new-age business and technology consulting firm founded by industry veterans. Our focus is to design and deliver digital solutions by paying careful attention to our customer’s business needs and expected strategic outcomes. Our areas of focus in the Healthcare and Lifesciences sector include:
Cloud-First – the focus is to modernize existing applications for being cloud-ready or to craft a compendium of applets/application services, specifically to address the users who access the business applications from outside the controlled environment. Digitech Labs has brought best of breed partnerships to provide a ‘Single Pane – Management by Exception’ console for enterprises
Digital First – with the concerns related to the security of business data, enterprises are skeptical of rolling our business processes to the end-users. There are also concerns related to compliance in a non-controlled environment. Digitech Labs through its solutions integrating Web Technologies, GPS, Image & Pattern Recognition, and AI / NLP / Deep learning-based Virtual Assistants aims to address these issues while ensuring complete segregation and security.
Automation – Digitization of Low Value Add / repetitive processes, with an aim to reduce operational costs and drive business efficiencies while improving customer experience. Digitech Labs, through their consultative-led approach work with clients, to identify over 60% of their value chain processes that are Non Value Adding (what the Customers pay for), yet are essential. With the leverage of solutions related to Robotics Process Automation coupled with AI/NLP/Deep learning technologies, Digitech Labs aims to drive significant cost optimization and improve customer serviceability.
Interoperability for a connected ecosystem – driven by increasing recognition, businesses no longer are standalone silos but, part of a larger interconnected ecosystem. Some use cases that have emerged glaringly during the COVID 19 crisis include Global Supply Chain, Data Portability & Interoperability (specifically in healthcare), Security & Compliance requiring antecedent tracing, proximity sensing for items or persons to name a few. Digitech Labs leverages the strengths of Trusted Distributed Ledger (permissioned Blockchain), Bluetooth, and NFR technologies to craft solutions addressing interoperability. In addition, for specific regulated business processes such as Electronic Health Records exchange or Online Cashless Claims processing, these solutions aim to ensure compliance and satisfy the Regulator’s needs
Analytics and Decision Support – a series of services for Insights and Actions
To know more about how Digitech can help you with secure solutions for your healthcare management needs, contact us now.