Covid-19 Application SafePass Brings Privacy and Clarity
Nine months ago, some of us watched as videos from China surfaced. Images of medical personnel in full personal protective equipment similar to the movie Outbreak filled our feeds. Reports of doctors disappearing emerged. Clips surfaced of people being forced into ambulances and doors being welded shut. The reports stoked our fears.
Lockdowns Are Not Sustainable Long Term
The US, one state at a time, shut down and before we knew it, the economy came to a halt, the market tanked, and the money printer came to life. To date, we have lost 859K souls worldwide and 185K Americans. While horribly tragic, the worst projections were never realized and we’re now left with the question of where do we go from here? With mental health concerns and abuse on the rise along with the consequences of delayed medical care, we could soon battle more than COVID-19.
Part of the Solution is Privacy Friendly Applications
Medek Health launched COVID-19 SafePass, available in both Google and Apple their app stores. The app gives people the ability to prove they are at low risk of being contagious from COVID-19. By answering a series of questions, users are pre-screened for risk factors associated with COVID-19. If an assessment warrants further follow up, they can make an appointment via telemedicine right from the app or they can find the closest testing center location.
Anonymous Testing for COVID-19
The test is anonymous and the results shown stay in the app. The app adheres to FDA guidance and follows all HIPAA standards. As an added feature, the user may choose to anonymously check-in at a local business. If they later find that someone tested positive for COVID-19, then the app can send an anonymous message that alerts the user with suggestions on the next steps.
SafePass uses a combination of ledgered transactions and smart contracts to track and provide proof of the specified workflow. This allows the system to be flexible to changes in the testing and evaluation process as alternative methods become available. Every transaction that takes place on the app is secured by millions of dollars in Security Value as measurable proof.
Tackle the Virus with Privacy in Mind
Dragonchain’s hybrid architecture was built for situations such as this. Privacy is secured for every interaction. Dragonchain’s architecture naturally adheres to HIPAA guidelines as no patient data needs to be exposed. Each transaction is verified on multiple blockchains and is confirmed by a notary node. The security of multiple public blockchains provides the necessary transparency to ease people’s fears and bring some much needed clarity.
Control Over Your Own Health Information
As we continue to navigate this new environment Dragonchain is there to make sure privacy and security are the number one priority. More than ever people are starting to demand they own their own data and to use that data as they wish. With Dragonchain, data does not have to be centralized. It can be if required but isn’t by default. Using a cryptographic key pair for a decentralized identity component, a person can show their records to whoever needs to see them, prove that they are legitimate, prove that the data is of a quality and that there have been no changes to this data.
Selective Public Exposure with Consent
They can further prove the test/event occurred on a particular date, who participated in the process i.e. the clinicians, and the source of the test. If the governing body, business, or healthcare provider does eventually require tying the decentralized cryptographic key to the person’s test results that can be done.
The possibilities with SafePass go beyond a simple assessment.
A business or restaurant can generate a report that shows that every employee in the business or the restaurant has followed the mandated process, whatever that may be.
We can add specific requirements for the state, the city, or whoever implements a process. We can plug in antibody and/or viral testing kits from either a clinic, a hospital, or even at home if appropriate. We could even plug in hospital records to improve assessments. If you want you can sign in with your app when you are at a restaurant. If it is found that there was an incident of a high-risk situation then you would get a notice that this event occurred and what the CDC recommendations are for this situation. All in a completely anonymized way.
In a recent AMA on Super Happy Dragon Lucky Episode 0x38 Joe Roets revealed some further use cases for the app have been investigated but for one reason or another never ended up being deployed. Issues outside of Dragonchain, Medek Health, or the entity’s control tend to dictate whether some things get implemented. This is especially true with a national pandemic. As the US is a country of individual states and individual businesses, all is not lost. There are still others looking at the technology and the SafePass app.
In the end, it would be great if some really smart governor said, “You can go to any restaurant and take off your masks and have at it, but you have to go through this process first”. Until then Dragonchain and Medek health will continue to build out a medical management solution to best serve businesses, governments, and the people.
Covid-19 Tracing Applications Remain a Hot Topic
The subject of COVID-19 tracing apps again came up in the most recent episode of Super Happy Dragon Lucky. This time privacy was the concern but first Joe was able to shed some light on Dragonchain’s motivations behind working with Medek Health. “Medek Heath approached us and we thought it was a very interesting topic. We really wanted to show how you could do this without tracing people. We wanted to show we could adhere to all the rules that center around HIPAA. And we could do this without holding all the health data. In the end, businesses don’t want to be responsible for maintaining protected personal information.”
Google and Apple Thorough Review Process
Joe goes on to discuss the delays in releasing the app. “We had a reasonably significant delay getting into the app stores because Google and Apple wanted to make sure that people were following the rules, which was good. We were able to show them we are HIPAA compliant. Here is who has access to the data and who doesn’t. We finally got through, but it was touch and go for a while. I think they were concerned because we weren’t using their API, which literally would be tracing people, with some controls. That wasn’t a solution we wanted to be a part of.”
Concerns About More Control Over our Freedom
The unforeseen dangers of taking a good thing too far is a primary concern for Greg Lang, our guest on this week’s Super Happy Dragon Lucky. “It sounds like you guys do it the right way, but I think there are some real pitfalls hidden in this. If we design this system that enables contact tracing and it helps people not get sick or helps public health authorities figure out how to solve these problems better in the future or today that’s a good thing. But, what are we giving up? What kind of machinery are we creating? Can we envision them changing the names of some fields? All of a sudden this is the former traffic offender tracking utility. So what kind of data do we even want to be traceable and how personalized do we want this to get? Those of us in tech have a responsibility to build things that people can’t use irresponsibly.”
These indeed are the kind of questions we need to answer as technology advances. Greg questions whether or not it’s too late. “Doing it right is great. The fact that Apple and Google were inquiring into if Dragonchain was doing it the right way in terms of HIPAA is good. I kind of wonder if maybe they haven’t already created a kind of monster with their own tool kit. Right now we’re using it for COVID-19, but who knows what the next public health crisis they’re going to consider contact tracing worthy of. Is it going to be bike helmets? How personal do we want this to get?”
As Joe points out, it may already be too late. “Even if they’re separating it, they or whoever has access to the information can triangulate the data similar to tracking phones for traffic data. They’re already tracking everywhere you go anyway. It gets a little scary.”
Greg wraps it all up with the ultimate path forward. “That’s a place where blockchain can make a difference. You can take these sorts of federated models and let people participate how they want to and to the extent, they feel comfortable. The key is informed consent for people. They need to know what they’re getting into for the benefit they’re getting out of it.”
Learn more about SafePass through our COVID-19 and blockchain case study or contact us today if you want to learn more about SafePass and COVID-19 applications.