Emotional Wellness in the Times of Covid-19

Shanmugavel Sankaran, Founder, NixWhistle

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 has made a huge impact in all our lives now. It has become a part of history which the future generations will be studying about from the internet and maybe textbooks. From following our daily routine of getting up in the morning and heading to work/ education center and coming back in the evening, we are now stuck between the four walls of our house after getting used to the lifelong time of leading our monotonous lives. Although most of us are lucky to stay home and be with our families, there are so many people who were unfortunate to be left back in different cities once the lockdown was declared. There are many highly respectable providers of service and safety who are constantly working out there, battling with the virus and trying their best to not let it reach the citizens of the nation. But sadly, they are unable to go home to their families as they too will have to take precautions.

With so much going on in everyone’s lives now, the pandemic has begun to affect the mental peace of us human beings. We are all used to always staying out, being with people, socializing, and now, we are privileged to go out of the house only when we have to purchase essential items. Although staying indoors at such a time is highly important, it took a lot of people some time to get adjusted to the new yet temporary lifestyle. It was quite expected that some of us will be dealing with akathisia in this overwhelming situation the entire world is facing.  It is not easy to just be sitting in one place and sticking to your laptop or phone when you are so used to moving about and exploring.

When it comes to children, they spend most of their time outdoors with their friends running around and playing for hours together. After they come back from school, they look forward to going and playing with their friends the most. But with the pandemic, it is most important for them to stay inside the houses without coming in contact with anyone from outside in order to avoid the spread of the virus. But what happens when a child is forced to stay at home for more than 2 days? They get highly restless and impatient if they are not engaged with something. This restlessness can lead to yelling and shouting because their brain would have heated up. This results in broken peace in the house and because they are young and going out to play is all they can think about, it can be difficult to make them understand the reason behind not letting them go out of the house. In the process of calming down their kids, even parents start losing their patience leading to a lot of disruption in the house.

It's extra overwhelming the ones living by themselves. So many thoughts, so many things to work on, so many thoughts in their minds, it’s just chaotic for them. Living alone might be looked at as having all the freedom where one can do anything as they wish, but the truth is, along with all that comes a lot of responsibilities. Taking care of their house, earning and paying rent, making meals for themselves, etc. They wake up and they don't have anyone around to look at, while having a meal, they’ll be by themselves with no one to speak to. Now this would have been an entirely different scenario when they were living their normal lives of going to work, being with their colleagues, going out with them and then coming back home for the night. But constantly having to be at home from the time they wake till the time they go back to sleep without having any sort of human interaction for more than a month can add a lot of anxiety and overthinking to their lives.

With the economy going down the drain, entrepreneurs are dealing with a lot of stress at this point in their lives. With no inflow of money in their accounts, they are finding multiple ways to reduce their expenditure and to live as minimalistic as possible. Individuals who had plans of beginning their entrepreneurial lives this year will have to postpone their plans to the next year as they would be seeing very little to no success at all if they started their company during a period where everything is shattering.

Blockchain based solutions like WellnessSpeak is all about hearing people out ensuring complete trust and assurance about their emotional turbulence. Such platforms has been made to help individuals having a bad time in this pandemic, speak their thoughts out while in return seeking some support online hoping to make these better for them. All the stakeholders like Tele Health providers and Emotional Wellness clinics are able to come onboard as additional stakeholders onto the platform.

There are so many more problems than the ones listed above which people are going through right now, but because the world is so busy fixing itself, the blockchain powered wellness platforms can be our virtual friend, counsellor or even a guide so that you won't feel like you are alone in this.

Published: May 2020

 

Blockchain and Drug Supply Assurance in the Coronavirus Era

Ben Taylor, Founder and  CEO, LedgerDomain


Over the past two years, our team at LedgerDomain has been working on bringing the drug supply chain out of the digital dark ages and into a secure real-time mode with blockchain. With the rise of COVID-19, need for real-time drug supply chain assurance has never been more pressing. While healthcare leaders and front-line workers rally together and fight this disease, we believe that a blockchain-based solution capable of tracking therapeutics, test kits, vaccines, and ventilators is necessary to accelerate their efforts to protect the public.

As part of a peer-reviewed study commissioned by the US FDA and published in Blockchain in Healthcare Today, LedgerDomain and UCLA Health joined forces to deploy and test BRUINchain, a last-mile blockchain-driven solution used by real caregivers to help deliver lifesaving medications. The study is among the first of its kind to reveal exactly how blockchain could save pharmacies billions of dollars in labor and safety stock costs alone. In this post I’d like to reflect on the key takeaways from the study and how we can map them onto the new health landscape.

Background on BRUINchain is available here.

Current State of Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

In today’s pharmaceutical supply chain, each transacting party typically manages its own database systems. These private databases allow each party to minimize external security threats while maximizing internal data consistency. However, this also means that there’s no shared global system of record representing the single source of truth describing the flow of items through the pharmaceutical supply chain. This leaves the supply chain as a whole more vulnerable to common attack vectors such as man-in-the-middle or spoofing.

Why Blockchain for Pharmaceutical Supply Chain?

In three years, under the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), the US pharmaceutical supply chain will be brought together by an electronic, interoperable system to identify and trace prescription drugs as they're distributed throughout the country. One of the core requirements of the DSCSA is that prescription medications must have a unique product identifier, which takes the form of a 2D barcode.

We realized that these federally mandated barcodes could be the foundational information building block for a common data model. Combined with blockchain, this could enable a system of record that would lessen the need to trade data integrity and privacy for global visibility and interpretability. In this way, blockchain can be a source of universal truth for hundreds of pharmaceutical and biotech enterprises and their vendors to work collaboratively and communicate with hundreds of wholesalers and tens of thousands of dispensers.

The BRUINchain Pilot Application

The keystone of our study was BRUINchain, a blockchain-based mobile solution and notification system designed to track and trace changes in custody of drug within a dispenser organization using FDA-stipulated barcodes. By combining blockchain with commercial off-the-shelf technology, BRUINchain makes it possible to track and verify drugs in a busy hospital or neighborhood pharmacy.

From the receiving bay to patient administration, caregivers scanned unique 2D drug barcodes using the BRUINchain mobile app. During their journey, drugs passed a series of checks until they were administered to the patient. New barcodes were routed to a trading partner for verification, and the drug was held back from being administered. At any time, the prescriber could view the progress of the drug through the pharmacy into the clinic.

BRUINchain Learnings and Outcomes

The BRUINchain pilot provided us with important insights into what a larger implementation of a DSCSA verification system would look like. It also validated the use of commercial off-the-shelf technology in a pharmacy that relies heavily on legacy systems. Barcode scanning was nearly 100% effective with commercial off-the-shelf technology. Drugs could be tracked at a highly granular level. The system was able to track expiration dates, verify barcodes, and make it easier for pharmacists to inspect and report problems.

During the study, we found that the rollout costs for DSCSA compliance could be massively reduced by a real-time blockchain system – a $183 million annual savings to dispensers in the United States, as well as a major bulwark against bad or fraudulent transactions. Real-time verification would also minimize the amount of safety stock that dispensers need to retain in the event of potential quarantine events, freeing up $20 billion in inventory.

Blockchain and COVID-19

So what does this mean in the coronavirus era? The unique identifiers mandated by DSCSA were essential to our pilot, but many types of medical supplies lack unique identifiers. We’ve heard again and again from industry stakeholders that the value provided by a blockchain leveraging these unique identifiers exceeds the implementation cost of unique 2D barcodes by an order of magnitude.

With that in mind, blockchain can play a role in three key areas. The first leverages existing unique identifiers on products for real-time track-and-trace solutions like BRUINchain. The second leverages unique identifiers for people, such as Social Security numbers, to provide patients, doctors, and health authorities with real-time updates. The third involves using blockchain in the absence of unique identifiers to power secure and private notifications related to issues at the lot or product level, such as recalls or expiry date extensions.

From the need for improved public hygiene to more robust track-and-trace systems, we will emerge from COVID-19 with some hard-earned lessons. As we rethink healthcare and global supply chain security in the United States and around the world, we have the opportunity to create new tools and systems to empower healthcare providers and patient. Not just against COVID-19, but in all areas of healthcare.

Published: May 2020