As hospitals adapt to the new Health and Human Services (HHS) platform called Coronavirus data hub To report critical information about Covid-19, HHS Chief Information Officer José L. Arrieta confirmed that the agency is using blockchain technology to track Covid-19 hospitalization data. In an interview today, Arrieta said that this “will allow clinics to be tested more quickly, protect citizens and flatten the curve on this pandemic, so that we can recover from this pandemic using blockchain technology, a distributed accounting technology” .

Earlier this week, Arrieta observed that HHS Protect, a data authentication platform, is more comprehensive than previously provided by the CDC. “At HHS Protect, every day, every data item we receive is hashed with a date and time recording of the parsing, care and sharing of that data item.” Arrieta, known for defending the benefits of blockchain technology in the U.S. government, explained that the blockchain will ensure that the Covid-19 hospitalization data is accurate and traceable.

Arrieta confirmed that the blockchain system used with HHS Protect is a corporate version similar to that supported by the Hyperledger organization and companies such as IBM
unlike bitcoin or ethereum blockchains. He declined to reveal the exact name of the platform.

“The blockchain used by HHS is not the blockchain of anarchists and disruptors, but rather as a new step forward where thousands of users on the platform are accessing the data sets,” said Arrieta. According to the IOC, HHS Protect coordinates data for 6,200 hospitals in the United States, including number of fans, hospital beds, hospitalization and discharge, laboratory test data in the United States, warehouse implications and nursing home data.

As a result of using blockchain technology with HHS Protect, the United States government can now, as Arrieta explained, “share with the general public how the results were generated because of an unchanging record.” It is unclear how this can be accessed.

He added: “Science is based on trying something and then sharing the steps of how you proved it. The creation of timestamps in an immutable record is truly authorizing and allows complete transparency from the data point of view. “Arrieta noted that blockchain technology will allow HHS to” enable faster clinical trials, better protect citizens and allow the country to recover from this pandemic. “

Asked if he believed that the transfer of Covid-19 data from the CDC to HHS with data protected by blockchain technology should provide more comfort to Americans about the accuracy of the data provided, Arrieta replied: “Absolutely, this is extremely important. Americans now have a public record of how the data was received with timed passages where people have access to data items. It is important to note that CDC, HHS, suppliers and the American public are able to see the item. of data at the exact moment it was shared due to blockchain technology. ”

Such as reported ABC News, Dr Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, vigorously defended the change in a call with reporters, insisting that the federal government’s effort to create a single HHS-managed database – linking around 4 billion different Data elements on everything from tests to race and patient ethnicity to hospital supplies and bed space – rather than through the CDC – can only help the CDC’s efforts.

According to Arrieta, for something as critical as Covid-19 data, trust and transparency are needed for real-time data with large data sets, provided by the blockchain. “With this technology, we are able to do it and I am super excited,” says Arrieta.

While at the General Services Administration (GSA), Arrieta has helped build a blockchain workgroup from scratch that meets weekly and still meets every Friday. This working group, managed by the American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council, (ACT-IAC), a non-profit public-private partnership dedicated to improving government, has helped develop a blockchain playbook that US agencies can use to determine if the blockchain should be used for a particular use case and how to implement the technology.

The group allows continuous dialogue between government and industry on ways to adopt blockchain technology. From the European Union to China, the whole world seems to increasingly see this technology as the next version of the World Wide Web, or Web 3.0, and is rushing to adopt it.

Before today, there was no highly visible blockchain technology used by the United States government, causing a general concern that America was lagging behind China and others in the blockchain race. However, confirmation today of the application of the technology to Covid-19 to help reduce the rate of spread of the virus or “flatten the curve”, as is widely described, will likely show that the United States is turning a corner of the technology so critical time in our history.

Arrieta, in her current CIO role at HHS, had previously noted, in January, that the HHS Accelerate program, which focuses on using technology to simplify and improve the procurement process, will save HHS “somewhere between $ 33 and $ 40 million “over the next five years. However, HHS Protect was an opportunity to use the technology for its true purpose, he says. “The heart of this technology is sharing and transparency, the use of hashes and time series and the ability to share data with integrity to allow the American public to ensure that the underlying data is accurate,” he says.

According to Arrieta, the blockchain will be the anchor in the market, on an individual, corporate, agency and national level. The technology is transformative and the way it is used takes time, “he says. While saving taxpayers’ money has been a good result with HHS Accelerate, Arrieta believes that” using blockchain with Covid-19 will be truly effective in demonstrate the usefulness of this new key technology. “

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