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Mar 27, 2020
Billions of people are affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) and isolated themselves in their houses against this deadly disease. As there is no cure for COVID-19 yet, the whole world is freaking out and piling their kitchens with groceries until the dust settles.
However, there are more cases of COVID-19 that are rising outside China and countries have forced their citizens to become prisoners in their homes. As per the precautionary measures, citizens are not allowed to leave their homes and the countries are shutting down non-essential travel as well.
The biggest problem during this state of turmoil is managing patient’s data and using relevant information. As medical researchers are working round-the-clock to organize a large amount of data and research for a COVID-19 cure, handling data has become overwhelming.
Decentralization can help in collecting, compiling, and expediting data whenever there is a disease outbreak. It can tackle a global pandemic like COVID-19 as well. Mobile apps and assessment models can change the way humans mine health data. But it is still unclear how decentralization can impact the health industry and reshape data mining models.
As WHO considers Coronavirus a massive infodemic, it is hard for researchers to collect and process data. This is where decentralization comes in. Decentralized technology can segment datasets related to Coronavirus that researchers can use and interpret according to their needs.
Evgen Verzun (Cybersecurity expert at an AI company) took a positive stance with regards to the research related to Coronavirus cure.
Finding a vaccine for curing diseases like COVID-19 requires massive mathematical modelling and checking all possible variants of working formula. Decentralized networks can help us process mathematical modelling and computational processes that are important for COVID-19 medical research..
The health industry is facing problems with overlapping policies, resource allocation, and extensive planning. And decentralization can be used to tackle these issues. Decentralization is shifting the power from a central level to sub-individual levels. And this will boost technical efficiency and accountability in the management of health resources.
Michele Ostrander (Co-Founder at Revokind) shares how decentralization is important for extensive research on finding a cure for COVID-19.
Decentralized/distributed ledger technology (DLT) is a potential means for sharing data sets with accuracy and privacy, particularly when combined with artificial intelligence.
As creating bio-medical data is difficult, decentralization can create accurate datasets. And combining decentralization with AI can help researchers interpret data, create big datasets, and predict a disease outbreak. Here is how decentralization can help and transform the health industry:
The sole purpose of using decentralized technology is creating data with accuracy and ensuring privacy. Decentralized technology can compile and process various types of data without the risk of any leaks.
As the healthcare industry experiences breaches all the time, decentralization is the best option to protect the data of millions of patients. And even the government has no jurisdiction to tamper with patient’s information on a decentralized or peer to peer network.
There are restricted resources in the healthcare industry whether they are in the form of commodities or humans. And decentralization can help promote equity of resource allocation while following specific health policies. Furthermore, decentralization can help in using efficient allocation formulas that can reduce cost overrun.
A decentralized technology will take existing health expenses and resources into account and then allocate those resources accordingly. It can reduce the equalizing impact of allocating health budgets which will stop wealthy health systems subsidizing poorer health systems.
As decentralization shifts the power from a central system to individuals, the healthcare system can save time and money on compiling data of patients. Considering the latest COVID-19 pandemic, decentralization is a meritocratic system that can reduce the hassle of spending money in creating and piling patient’s data into relevant categories. Individuals can update their health records directly on a decentralized network and even check old data files.
Securing personal data of patients is another major concern for healthcare providers. Patients put their trust in healthcare facilities and share personal information like credit card details or addresses. However, data breaches can put sensitive data of patients at risk of theft and manipulation.
That’s why decentralization can help patients reduce the trust that is needed to put into healthcare providers. Every individual can check and update his or her own private data on a decentralized network. Unlike a centralized health network, decentralization can cut back the inefficiency problems that are caused by creating and synching patient’s data.
Also, decentralization enhances security by protecting compartmentalization. It means a decentralized network can segment patient’s data into smaller packets and copy data across various file systems. As the patient’s files are saved on multiple nodes, even if hackers can tamper a single node, the other nodes will continuously function.
The GPU cycles and processors of Mac computers are helping clinical researchers find a cure for COVID-19. As there is a massive amount of data that needs accurate and detailed analysis, researchers need more computing cycles and processing power to arrange relevant data in correct order.
Although many mobile apps are helping clinical researchers to find a COVID-19 cure, more GPU cycles are required to compile data related to a pandemic. Also, researchers need to simulate the protein folding of Coronavirus disease and this is the reason why they require hundreds of spare Mac computers.
Folding@Home is an open-source app that you can install on your Mac computer and allow researchers to use GPU cycles and computer processors for research related to protein folding. The researchers have successfully used Mac computers previously to create a protein folding for Ebola virus as well.
This is why using a decentralized system is important to build protein folding of Coronavirus or any other infectious disease. Mapping proteins is computational-heavy and a P2P approach, like decentralization, can help researchers reduce the burden on computing devices.
By using decentralization in the healthcare industry, researchers can become more decisive and accurate in making progress and finding a COVID-19 cure. More importantly, decentralization can solve data-related issues for healthcare providers during a pandemic.
However, when it comes to using and synchronizing data for medical research, digital health maps can provide help in controlling or preventing diseases like COVID-19. Researchers can also use digital health maps to predict which countries are on the verge of an outbreak, and maybe control an epidemic disease like COVID-19 in the future.
Fortunately, WHO has already created a digital health map, named Digital Health Atlas, which can help researchers control a disease outbreak. But researchers all around the world are struggling to control COVID-19 as they have limited datasets and resources.
Even if the latest technology is incorporated in the healthcare industry over time, it demands a safe system like decentralization. The sole purpose of using decentralization is to create a single ecosystem where anyone can generate data and the system can put that data into a reliable database.
The healthcare industry is collecting data from everywhere that is isolated and not used for research purposes. As the healthcare data is badly fragmented, decentralization can be the solution to use this massive data into finding a COVID-19 cure.