Written by Tom Wilson
LONDON – Two British hospitals are using blockchain technology to monitor the storage and supply of temperature-sensitive COVID-19 vaccines, companies said Tuesday in one of the world’s first such initiatives.
Two hospitals, in central England, Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick, are expanding their use of distributed books, blockchain shoots, from vaccine monitoring and chemotherapy drugs to refrigeration monitoring where COVID-19 vaccines are stored.
The technology will enhance record keeping and data sharing through supply chains, said Everyware, which oversees vaccines and other treatments for Britain’s National Health Service (NHS), and Texas-based Hedera’s book owned by companies including Alphabet’s Google and IBM, the statement.
Logistic barriers pose a significant risk to the rapid distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, but have resulted in thriving businesses for companies selling shipment tracking technology from the factory freezer to hand-to-hand shots.
For example, Pfizer Inc and BioNTech must be delivered and stored at ultra-cold temperatures or on dry ice, and can only last up to five days at standard refrigerator temperatures.
Other vaccines, such as Moderna Inc, do not need such refrigerators and are therefore easier to deliver.
“We can absolutely verify the data we collect from each individual device,” Tom Screen said in each interview. “We make sure the data is accurate at source, and after that point we can check to see if it’s ever changed and has never been changed.”
Companies from finance to commodities have invested millions of dollars in the development of the blockchain, a digital book that enables secure and timely data recording, in hopes of radically reducing costs and increasing efficiency.
The results have, however, mixed, and few projects that have achieved a revolutionary effect have been announced by proponents.
Everyware’s Screen said this, although it would be possible to monitor vaccines without a blockchain, handheld systems would increase the risk of errors.
“The system will allow us to show our commitment to providing safe patient care,” said Steve Clarke, head of electro-bio medical engineering at NHS South Warwickshire.