Blockchain technology projects are being developed by companies such as International Business Machines Corp. and Ernst & Young LLC to help with various aspects of the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus.
Employees developing the projects say blockchain could be an efficient way of connecting health-care providers in need of medical equipment with global suppliers they might not otherwise find on their own. The technology could also help validate a person’s immunity to Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, data that authorities could use to better understand and respond to the pandemic.
However, the projects could run into challenges if the data that goes on the blockchain is inaccurate and difficult to verify, an analyst at Gartner Inc. said.
Best known as the record-keeping system behind cryptocurrencies, blockchain is a decentralized way to keep records that are shared among participants and that can’t be changed. A blockchain ledger allows participants to add blocks of information after each party runs algorithms to evaluate a proposed transaction.
The goal is to have a range of trusted global suppliers on the blockchain network that can provide health-care organizations with about 15 types of medical equipment, including masks, ventilators, dialysis machines and oxygen masks.