Opinion | Why use blockchain technology to improve the national infectious disease surveillance and early warning system?

Source of this article: Everyone is a product manager

Author: Huang Rui

The author has recently written two consecutive articles on the use of blockchain technology to improve and optimize the early warning system for infectious diseases: "Improving the National Infectious Disease Surveillance and Warning Network with Blockchain Technology" and " Constructing Regional Grassroots Linkages with Blockchain Early Warning Network ". After the article was published, many interested friends contacted me and everyone discussed some issues together. Here I sort out and summarize the following questions for your reference.

(1) Why is it necessary to use blockchain technology? Can't Big Data or other technologies solve it?

First of all, blockchain is not a single technology, it is a framework for the integration of multiple technologies.

Secondly, the biggest advantage of blockchain technology is actually the best solution to integrate existing distributed resources (our current public health resources, including: hospitals, CDCs, pharmacies, health centers, laboratories, etc. are actually distributed, (Belonging to different management systems), the use of blockchain does not mean that no big data is used, and no AI is used. It can be simply understood that blockchain is a framework, and big data, AI, IoT and other technologies are among its functions.

(2) Many people mentioned that the problem of this outbreak was not a technical problem, but a problem of the lack of management and system of the CDC's administrative system and local government, so they thought that technology could not solve everything. What do you think?

Technology really cannot cure everything, and blockchain is not a panacea, but we should also see that the evolution of technology and management systems has always been complementary. The industrial revolution has brought about changes in the modern enterprise system and the national management system, and mobile payment technology has brought about adjustments in financial policies. Therefore, it is not an empty pavilion to advance system reform with technological innovation.

(3) Why is the emphasis on privacy protection and data sharing of medical institutions emphasized in infectious disease early warning?

In fact, the biggest constraint that restricts big data monitoring and early warning is the collection scope and depth of risk characteristic data. The biggest problem that restricts large-scale collection of public health data is how to protect personal privacy and the security of medical confidential data in medical institutions, and how to ensure The interests of all parties to the data. This is also a necessary condition to fully address the early warning of infectious diseases. Blockchain is an open security architecture that can achieve data interconnection and interoperability on the basis of considering the interests of multiple parties, which is not available in other single technologies.

(4) Can the blockchain solve the problem of the efficiency of reporting and early warning of the epidemic?

A distributed data transmission mechanism such as blockchain is not the optimal technical route to solve the data transmission efficiency. To solve the data transmission efficiency, the common centralized data direct mining mode is the fastest (National Infectious Diseases Network Direct Reporting System Passing data takes only seconds.)

But how effective is it? We can take a look at the performance of this epidemic.

Therefore, the "efficiency of epidemic reporting and early warning" as we understand it does not refer to the direct transmission time of data from the hospital to the national automatic infectious disease early warning system, but refers to a combination of multi-party games such as individuals, hospitals, CDC, and government administration And weigh the results. These factors of decision efficiency are distributed in nature, so how to achieve the optimal path in a distributed environment is our most concerned. At present, blockchain technology is the optimal solution.

(5) Full transparency of the epidemic data will bring social panic and economic turmoil, so data transparency is actually idealistic and has no practical significance. What do you think?

This view is currently mainstream, because everyone has no deep understanding of technological progress. At present, automatic checksum calculation based on ciphertext has gradually been commercialized. Federal learning, multi-party secure computing, homomorphic encryption, and key exchange The continuous evolution of technologies such as encryption and asymmetric encryption can already resolve the contradictions of information transparency and social stability. Information transparency can be based on laws, set predefined rules, and be disclosed level by level.

(6) Is a national centralized early warning system good? Or is the regional early warning system good?

In fact, the application of blockchain is not simply to replace one solution with another. The advantage of blockchain is actually the integration of resources. Early warning at the outbreak of the epidemic requires real-time regional warning. At that time, there was no expert group, no national laboratory participation, and no clear virus analysis results and pathogenic cause analysis were needed.

The need for all-round vigilance and prevention in the region may be a matter of masks, which can slow the spread of the epidemic. And national monitoring and early warning is to solve the problem of controlling the spread of epidemic across a large area, national resource scheduling, and ultimately treating patients. Therefore, the top-level and grass-roots two-layer early warning models are the most reasonable.

(7) Is the current technical problem of surveillance and early warning system of infectious diseases in China? Virological issues? Government management issues? Legal Issues? Or economics?

The problem of China's current infectious disease surveillance and early warning system is not single, but is largely the result of the combined effects of complex factors. If we only start from a certain aspect, headaches, heads and feet will be difficult to solve completely. We recommend that blockchain technology is not to say that other factors are not important, but because blockchain technology is essentially an integration framework, which can integrate other factors in a trusted environment to achieve common governance.

This is why General Secretary Xi emphasized "to explore the use of 'blockchain +' in the field of people's livelihood, and actively promote the use of blockchain technology in education, employment, retirement, precision poverty alleviation, medical health, commodity security, food safety, public welfare, society Applications in areas such as assistance provide people with smarter, more convenient and better public services. "

Surveillance, early warning and control of infectious diseases are the common responsibility of our entire society. We need to use some open and distributed technologies to integrate all social resources and build public entities and enterprises such as hospitals, communities, transportation, disease control, and pharmacies in the region. A multi-party data trusted link network, blockchain is one of the options.