"Smart Exit" out
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In order to enable a rapid return of the economy in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, the German company Ubirch, as part of a consortium of well-known companies, is developing an IT infrastructure that anchors the corona status of a tested person in a blockchain and thus makes it digitally usable at any time for all parties - healthcare, patients, economy. People with a low risk of infection or after recovering from an infection can be provided with a health certificate, comparable to a "digital corona immunization pass". This certificate can be used in a variety of situations, e.g. to work in system-relevant institutions, in general return back to normal work process with immunity or to take an international flight.
Together with manufacturers of medical equipment, laboratories, clinics, clinical data management systems and authentication providers, Ubirch is presenting a solution that creates a verifiable chain of process results: starting from the allocation of a medical sample, its handling in clinics or other locations, through the process of (semi-)automated laboratory tests, to submission to requesting authorities. Together with partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, Frankfurt and Berlin, the consortium has developed a secure digital "end-to-end" solution for a nationwide testing process that can be extended to the whole of Europe and numerous other countries. The established solution comprises the process steps of anamnesis of suspected cases, sampling, laboratory evaluation, notification of test results and transmission of data to other bodies such as a nationwide central database.
The solution is based on a process certification anchored in the blockchain, which begins with the extraction of a medical sample. The sample is linked to a pseudonymous identity of the patient at the test center. This pseudonymous identity is generated by an identity provider, which can be a so-called "Self-Sovereign Identity Application" or the staff at the moment the sample is taken from the patient. It is used in conjunction with the sample throughout the entire subsequent process and is anchored by Ubirch in the blockchain at govdigital to ensure that a time stamp is also recorded for the collection. Any step that adds or changes information to the sample will be anchored. govdigital, a cooperative of 10 public sector IT service providers (federal, state and local), offers this service as part of their trusted and secure blockchain infrastructure for public service tasks. Matthias Kammer, Managing Director of govdigital: "We are pleased to be able to anchor the Digital Corona Health Certificate in a blockchain in the secure and trustworthy data centers of our members as a contribution to public services”.
To ensure that the chain of events can be verified, the hash of the anchored data can be used for verification by the next party processing the sample. For example, the laboratory that receives the sample and links the test results to the hash of the previous unit that processed the sample. The test results themselves are not anchored in the blockchain. They are forwarded to the clinic or directly to the patient as required by law, who can now verify the results and chain of events through Ubirch's verification service. At this point, a compressed version of the result can also be loaded into an SSI application, for example as a verified proof, and presented as required. Similarly, the system can be linked to access control systems at manufacturing plants, airports or other locations.
Ubirch CEO Stephan Noller: "A reliable corona status will be a very important feature in the next few months in order to return to more normality. We believe that our joint solution can make a significant contribution to this - above all because it is explicitly aimed at the economy, and not only at the health sector".
In the coming months, the presentation of a non-repudiable, authentic medical corona test result, e.g. to authorities, employers, in clinics or at safety-critical locations, will become a crucial element in boosting the economy and returning to a normal social life. Making this possible in a data protection-friendly manner will also be crucial to avoid damage to civil society and fundamental rights.
The consortium consists of the following companies: Ubirch GmbH, Bundesdruckerei, University Hospital Cologne, Lufthansa Industry Solutions GmbH, Centogene AG, Labor Dr. Wisplinghoff, Healex GmbH, Digital Health Germany e.V., Boston Consulting Group (BCG), govdigital eG, mDoc GmbH, Public Health Department of the City of Cologne
Ubirch is the specialist for blockchain-based security technology in the field of IoT with locations in Cologne, Berlin and Munich, Germany. The team consists of experienced specialists in cryptography, blockchain and data-driven business models. Consisting of an extremely lightweight client for sensor firmware and the matching cloud backend, Ubirch's "Blockchain for Things" solution enables military-grade data protection to deliver new business models for IoT. For further information visit www.ubirch.com