Blockchain solution benefits for controlling pandemics: Bottom-up decentralization, automation with real-time update, and immutability with privacy preservation


The current COVID-19 pandemic has created turmoil around the world. To fight this ongoing global crisis and future ones, all stakeholders must collaborate and share timely and truthful information. This paper proposes a blockchain solution based on its inherent technological advantages. We posit that benefits can be derived from three unique blockchain features: bottom-up decentralization, automation with real-time update, and immutability with privacy preservation. A decentralized common platform provides easy access and increases participation in disease surveillance, which reduces the estimation errors of the compartmental model parameters. Automation with real-time update facilitates prompt detection and diagnosis, accurate contact tracing, and targeted mitigation and containment, achieving faster recovery and slower transmission. Being immutable while preserving privacy, the blockchain solution enhances respondents’ willingness to truthfully report their contact history, avoiding false and erroneous data that will cause wrong estimates on pandemic transmission and recovery. Thus, the blockchain solution mitigates three types of risks: sample variance, delay, and bias. Through simulation, we quantify the value of the blockchain solution in these three aspects. Accordingly, we provide specific action plans based on our research findings: before building blockchain solutions for controlling COVID-19, governments and organizations can calculate the blockchain benefits and decide whether or not they should invest in such blockchain solutions by conducting a cost-benefit analysis.

Publication Title

Computers and Industrial Engineering