The World & Covid-19: Despite the Enormity of the Circumstances, There Are Reasons to Be Hopeful

Most Americans have a genuine appreciation for the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic. They understand that the threat presented by Covid-19 warrants adherence to all of the precautions prescribed by the CDC and other reputable bodies. Compliance in the form of self-isolation and social distancing en masse is indicative of a crisis mentality not seen since perhaps the Second World War; in this instance most people realize personal wellbeing lies in the welfare of society as a whole.

That individuals have not only troubled to educate themselves, but also acted on information fundamental to their own security and that of the greater community is gratifying. It is also gratifying that the heroism of clinicians and healthcare providers has rightfully claimed so much of our attention. It is no exaggeration to say that doctors, nurses and ancillary personnel are risking their lives in our interest. What can be done to alleviate their burdens? How might we better empower physicians to confront what are sure to be successive waves of infectious outbreak?

The transformative implications of blockchain technology have begun to register in popular consciousness. Many of the issues impeding resource allocation — the scarcity of proper testing kits, protective gear, ventilators, and medication — could be resolved by its implementation. Knowing how much of what is where, its point of origin and authenticity, would put an end to hoarding, fraud and the malaise of bureaucratic confusion that has made frontline treatment that much more exhausting for those providing critical care.

Clean, transparent, frictionless logistics is only the beginning. A trustworthy, curated platform that gives patients instantaneous, real-time clinical support would reduce volume at care facilities; reduced volume means less exposure for those who have not contracted the virus. To be perfectly clear, the resource I have in mind is not a generic app or chatbot.

Telemedicine on blockchain puts patients in touch with qualified health practitioners. Data sharing is permissioned, which is to say it is always consensual. Access is immediate. Data is secure on the platform; it cannot be hacked by malicious agents. So, in sum, what’s created is an ecosystem for confidential exchanges conducted anytime from anywhere in which both parties are perfectly informed. If someone has worrisome symptoms associated with Covid-19, their worries are addressed. If some other concern has arisen in the course of a viral outbreak, it will be diagnosed without detracting from the general effort in response to the coronavirus public health emergency. A person with a serious condition that does not warrant hospitalization will be continuously monitored remotely.

Despite the enormity of the circumstances, there are reasons to be hopeful. A multinational contingent of disciplined healthcare workers and scientists are devoting their time and energy to treating those with Covid-19 and, in time, developing a vaccine. Emergent technologies will also play their part in rehabilitating healthcare systems worldwide.

David S Hanekom, MD, FACP, CMPE, Chief Medical Officer and Regional President (North America) at Solve.Care Global.

Originally published April 1, 2020 on LinkedIn.

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