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CDC Wants Blockchain To Help Drag Itself Out Of Bureaucratic Mires

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CDC utilizes blockchain to improve its operations.

Blockchain’s intrinsic ability to provide a tamper-proof, record-keeping ledger, makes it a useful application across industries. Once such potential application of blockchain technology is the healthcare industry. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants to use blockchain to collect data of health workers from isolated systems. The CDC believes that blockchain will help to quickly deploy these workers into a crisis zone.

How Blockchain Can Fasten Health Workers’ Deployment

Furthermore, blockchain will make it exceedingly easy and quick for the CDC to identify health workers with the right qualification. Using blockchain, they can quickly review vaccinations, medical clearances, passports, and visas.

At present, the deployment approval process is quite a lengthy task. This is because it requires pulling out data from different CDC centers. This is a tedious process and also sometimes results in conflicting versions of data, slowing down the entire process.

Sachiko Kuwabara, director of the CDC’s Office of Risk Management, explained the entire issue at the recent FCW blockchain event.

“When we have different copies of data in different places, we don’t trust the data since we don’t know which one is the accurate one. We end up with multiple systems trying to check to see if the other systems are correct.”

CDC Integrating the Disparate Systems Using Blockchain

Kuwabara said that his office is currently testing the use of blockchain to integrate these isolated systems. The ability of the distributed ledger technology (DLT) to store the immutable record of all data transactions makes it easier to check whether there are any mistakes or changes in the data.

The blockchain Proof-of-Concept (PoC) consensus will help to pull-out relevant data scattered across the CDC enterprise.

“Every node or individual on that node or distributed ecosystem gets a copy of the data in the form of a ledger at exactly the same time,” Kuwabara said. “We are working with the same data, which reduces the need for reconciliation, and it also starts to get these systems talking to each other.”

The CDC will make use of the Hyperledger Fabric framework. This allows for developing of microservices atop the blockchain network. It will also allow the CDC to simultaneously test the blockchain solution without putting other developments on hold.

Kuwabara notes,

“We need to be able to continue to do business and operate as we have been but also modernize. The proof of concept should be completed by the middle of December.”

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