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Wednesday, 15 July 2020 13:19

Blockchain in an Interconnected Viral Age

Written by
As a University of South Florida College of Public Health student the last four years, I studied emerging infectious diseases and public health emergencies in large populations. Little did I know, I would be using this knowledge all too quickly as COVID-19 was on the way and would halt life as we know it around the globe. We are now 7 months in from the first diagnosis of infection of the COVID-19 virus in the United States which was confirmed on January 20, 2020. As COVID-19 rampantly spreads across the United States and around the globe, so does the sobering reality that epidemics will become more common with our increasingly connected age.

In our global society, outbreaks of infectious disease can move from a remote village to a major city on the other side of the world in under 36 hours. 

As the world’s population swells, so will the number of outbreaks and the people impacted. The number of outbreaks, like the number of emerging infectious diseases, appears to be increasing with time in the human population both in total number and richness of causal diseases.

We are an increasingly mobile global population, traveling more for both work and pleasure than ever before. In 2018, there were 4.2 billion air transport passenger journeys – compared to 310 million in 1970. This mobility helped propel coronavirus' instantaneous transfer from Wuhan, China to more than 60 countries in just two months and the rapid spread we are seeing within the United States. We are also living closer together, as the global population grows it puts pressure on living space. By 2050, 68% of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas, making it all too easy for infectious disease to spread like wildfire and for entire communities to become infected.

Infectious diseases were named one of the top 10 risks in terms of impact for the next 10 years according to the Global Risks Report. Published in January, the report came with a stark warning: “As existing health risks resurge and new ones emerge, humanity’s past successes in overcoming health challenges are no guarantee of future results.”

These diseases will reshape economies. Economists estimate that, in the coming decades, flu pandemics will cause average annual losses of 0.7% of global GDP – or $570 billion. We have already seen the devastating impact COVID-19 has caused the United States economy, prompting many to make comparisons to The Great Depression in 1929.

Given an increasingly connected society, fighting future epidemics will no longer be the sole responsibility of public health and healthcare experts. Solutions will take cooperation from a range of leaders, both public and private, as well as the help of the general population. With my knowledge of infectious disease from a public health professional point of view, this is where I see blockchain technology as a solution for many of the gaps we are seeing in COVID-19 response and information as well as how this technology can help with future epidemics and pandemics.

Currently, most countries have an infectious disease reporting system in which hospitals and clinics diagnose and report patients to the higher authorities, which in turn report the cases to the final authority. For example, you get tested by your primary care physician, they then report to your counties health department, then they report to the states health department, then they report to the CDC. Whenever there are intermediary processes for the report to pass from the hospital or clinic to the final institution, the reporting time may increase, which can make it extremely difficult to respond promptly to a highly contagious infectious disease. We have seen these kinds of issues with COVID-19 reporting in the United States on a daily basis and this passive reporting method can result in the omission of reports. Furthermore, the use of a central server may inevitably result in greater damage if the system is exposed to a hacking attack during a crisis; thus, making it harder to detect altered data after hacking. If blockchain technology were to be used for infectious disease reporting systems, the data would be automatically reported to the final authority at the same instant that they are stored in the blockchain, without passing through any intermediary processing; this procedure would result in the improvement of the efficiency of data transfer regarding infectious disease outbreaks.

Blockchain could also prevent the spreading of false information regarding infectious disease. False information confuses people and can cause psychological anxiety, economic loss, and make many lose sight of the issue at hand. Storing news and information on a blockchain platform not only prevents its alteration, but also makes it traceable; thus, making it easier to prevent the development and spread of false information. In an age of social media and interconnectedness, the need for secure, accurate information for the masses is of utmost importance for helping to educate the general public.

With an increasing likelihood that we’ll see more epidemics of this scale in the future, I wholeheartedly believe that blockchain technology will be playing a large role in the world’s fight against infectious disease outbreaks. 

For information on blockchain technology and how to integrate blockchain technology into your business, please visit our website to explore our product catalog. We would love the chance to talk to you about your blockchain needs! https://blockspaces.io/ 
In the United States, millions of people are affected by mental illness each year. It’s important to measure how common mental illness is, so we can understand the physical, social, and financial impact it has on individuals and families.

  •   1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
  •   1 in 25 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
  •   1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
  •   50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24
  •   Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34 

In 2016, only 41% of the 3.1 million adolescents who experienced depression within the past year received treatment. Although effective treatments exist for many mental disorders, unfortunately, over half of adolescents in the U.S. who need mental health treatment never receive it. Further, compared with whites, growing evidence indicates that Black and racial/ethnic minority adolescents are more vulnerable to undiagnosed mental disorders, but are less likely to have access to mental health services. Over 15 million children and adolescents need psychiatric help, but there are only 8,300 child and adolescent psychiatrist practices in the United States and children and adolescents in rural communities often go their entire life without access to mental health services. 

One of the difficulties in mental health care is diagnosis and patient record access. Physicians cannot simply take blood tests and scans to find the problem. Oftentimes, patients will feel like they need to hide their real symptoms from their doctors because they are ashamed, confused, scared, and anxious, many of which are symptoms brought on by their condition. In many cases, patients, especially children and adolescents, do not know how to communicate effectively about their condition. If there is a proper diagnosis and the patient ends up at a different hospital or clinic, which is oftentimes very common for this age group, and another problem arises, there is poor or no ability for care providers to gain access to different platforms to obtain patient records.

Strategies to improve health care in general, such as improving access to care and improving the quality of care, would do much to eliminate such health care disparities in pediatrics. Patient related outcome measures (PROMs) and improvements depend on the system's ability to share data across clinicians, labs, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and other staff, departments, and settings. It seems obvious that when health care providers have access to complete and accurate information, patients receive better medical care, but communication among patient’s healthcare teams is often disjointed and vital connections and collaborations amongst clinicians and data producers are lost under the burden of disenfranchised, siloed, manual, chart-abstracted data collection. In many cases, clinical data is captured on various systems, even within an organization, that are often not well integrated with one another. Problems within IT can also disrupt the delivery of care and increase the likelihood of new, often unforeseen, errors that affect the safety and quality of clinical care and outcomes. A secure quality improvement data collection tracking mechanism, using a novel blockchain and artificial intelligence application, would address the information silos that can contribute to suboptimal patient care. The application, sharable among multiple healthcare providers in real time and accessible to interdisciplinary healthcare teams, could  improve patient care and outcomes, both physical and mental.

If you would like to dive deeper into the topic of blockchain and mental health, please join Rosa Shores, BlockSpaces Co-Founder, for a presentation on August 7, 2020 at Disrupt the Bay on how blockchain technology can be used to give clinicians the ability to not only address information silos that exist across healthcare teams, but how blockchain can also help expose mental health disparities in real time which would reduce errors, improve patient safety,  and support better health outcomes.

About Disrupt the Bay 2020:

Help fight against kids’ cancers by joining Disrupt the Bay 2020! A Digital Tech Conference with a Cause! We have an exciting lineup including John Nosta and Scott Arnold, very prominent healthcare disruptors as our keynote speakers, local chief level executives from the healthcare industry, and multiple healthcare technology startups from Tampa Bay that are leveraging innovative technologies to improve healthcare and other industry services. We hope to see you there! Disrupt The Bay: Home
COVID-19 has certainly changed the way we conduct everyday business. For many employers, dealing with new COVID-19 regulations, guidance, and recommendations within the work environment is only the beginning. Employers are responding by taking into account the level of disease transmission in their communities and are revising their business response plans as needed in order to successfully manage the health and safety of their employees while in the workplace. While a vaccine is still in clinical trials for COVID-19 at this time, employers are at the mercy of self-reporting or requiring regular testing of its employees, which can be very difficult to manage.

Recently, an employee provided a doctor’s note to his employer that he had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and was subject to quarantine per CDC and state guidelines. The employer took the necessary steps of notifying all employees of the positive case and added specific notifications to those who had come in direct contact with the COVID positive employee.  Additionally, the employer took an added cautionary step of having their warehouse cleaned and disinfected in order to ensure the safe return of its workforce as soon as possible.

What the employer was unaware of was that the doctor’s note was forged. The FBI investigation estimates the company incurred over $175,000 in lost productivity due to the alleged fraud. In addition, one coworker of the alleged victim, believing they had been exposed to the virus, also faced personal financial loss after deciding to pay for a rental property where they could remain self-quarantined away from members of their family.

This is just one case of fraud in relation to employees taking advantage of the pandemic through medical fraud. Rooting out health care fraud is central to the well-being of both our citizens and the economy. Health care fraud costs the United States tens of billions of dollars each year. 

BlockSpaces has been working in conjunction with several companies on an HR solution to help companies reduce risk and fraud associated with medical clearances. HealthClearTM utilizes a purpose-built distributed ledger system to create verifiable DID's (Decentralized Identifiers) that are globally unique and resolvable (via a ledger) without requiring any centralized resolution authority. Verifiable Claims are issued as a credential to the end user using a distributed ledger system with Zero Knowledge Proofs which prove that some or all of the data in a set of claims is true without revealing any additional information, including the identity of the end user.

Verifiable digital health clearances that conceal sensitive employee health data would allow employees to return to work after medical leave while mitigating employers’ liability risk and insuring the company’s regulatory compliance.  Physician generated releases provide part of the solution, but human errors, inconsistent forms, alterations, and forgeries of information are possible and requests for detailed employee health data by employers runs the risk of violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

HealthClearTM is designed to bring trust, personal control, privacy, and ease-of-use for the issuance of health clearance credentials to employees and their physicians, while providing liability protection, consistency and efficiency to HR processes for businesses in order to allow workers to return to work quickly and safely  after medical leave.

If you are interested in learning more about HealthClearTM, visit our website at:  https://blockspaces.io, or call us to start the conversation.
Monday, 22 June 2020 14:37

BlockSpaces Announces Key Changes

Written by
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
BlockSpaces, Inc.
Contact: Rosa Shores
Phone: 727-483-3563
Email: rosa@blockspaces.io
 
BlockSpaces Announces Key Changes

BlockSpaces outlines a new operating model, management team and a seed round of capital.
 
Greg PierceTAMPA, FLORIDA, June 22, 2020 — BlockSpaces, Inc., today announced key leadership additions to their team, including the election of Gregory Pierce as Operating Chairman of Board.

With expertise in cloud trends, systems integration, security, scale computing and emerging technology strategies, Pierce was the co-founder and Chief Cloud Officer of Concerto Cloud Services, an affiliate company of Microsoft Dynamics 365 integrator, Tribridge, and helped lead their strategic acquisition to IT services company DXC Technology, in 2017. In that capacity, he led the development of the Concerto Private Cloud with extension into Azure and AWS platforms with the company being recognized as a “Top 15 Cloud Services Provider” and “Coolest Cloud Vendor in the Country” with more than $30 million in revenue. He currently serves as Chief Strategy Officer & Vice President of DXC Microsoft Americas focused on infrastructure, managed services and cloud solutions for customers throughout the U.S. and is nationally recognized as an expert in the areas of emerging and disruptive technologies.
 
“Blockchain is poised for explosive growth,” said Pierce. “I couldn’t be happier to be part of one of the leading blockchain success stories in the country.”
 
“We are thrilled to make this election to our board,” said Rosa Shores, Co-Founder and CEO of BlockSpaces. “Greg’s experienced leadership within the enterprise software space, as well as his success at scaling startup ventures, will be instrumental in helping to lead BlockSpaces through our next phase of growth.”
 
In conjunction with the election of Pierce, the company introduced a new operating model and 2 additional members of their management team. The new operating model, which is centered on a new product-based business segment, will position the company to have a stronger emphasis on the development of their core Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Harmonia, which is aimed at mid-market companies seeking to integrate blockchain with their legacy systems. Also joining the team is Charles Dyer, also previously with DXC, who will be taking over the role of Chief Operating Officer, and Chris Tyler, from IBM, who will be leading the company's technology team, as Chief Technology Officer, with their shift to enterprise focused blockchain development. Both Dyer and Tyler bring with them decades of Fortune 200 enterprise software development and product go-to-market experience.
 
“The opportunity for BlockSpaces now is to scale and support blockchain adoption in the mid-market enterprise with Harmonia." said Dyer. "I’m excited for the opportunity to reinforce and accelerate continued innovation, quality, and growth.”
 
“I have been working with BlockSpaces for over two years now as an advisor to them and their partner organizations on enterprise blockchain and IBM partner programs,” said Tyler. “They have always been a thought leader in the use of multiple blockchain technologies and I’m excited to be a part of their future.  Harmonia will simplify our customers’ adoption of blockchain by easily integrating the multiple systems and processes they use with a variety of blockchain networks, and will allow our customers to fully recognize the benefits promised by these networks.”
 
BlockSpaces opened its doors in Tampa in late 2017. At that time, co-founders, Rosa Shores and Gabe Higgins, both early adopters of blockchain, saw local demand for a collaborative space dedicated to developers and enthusiasts of the technology. Over the past year, the company has shifted focus to internal product development of enterprise solutions and raised $100,000 from a local angel investor in January. After completing a blockchain based distributed ID Proof of Concept for the Seminole County Tax Collector's office in March, the company had just kicked off a seed round of investment in March when the COVID-19 pandemic closed down their Embarc Collective office in downtown Tampa. “Although the pandemic initially stalled the seed round in Q1, we have seen an uptick in interest around blockchain solutions which added a significant pipeline to our existing funnel and solidified product-market fit for our PaaS integration platform,” said Dyer.
 
“We have been in this industry since 2012, and our mission has always been to accelerate the adoption of blockchain technology to transform business, industry and society,” said co-founder, Gabe Higgins. “As enterprise blockchain adoption continues to explode, we are seeing mid-market companies left under-served and unable to easily integrate with enterprise blockchain solutions and participate in networks that will impact their entire industry. Our new model will allow us to be more nimble and pursue new growth opportunities in a disciplined way that ultimately meets our customers’ needs no matter what stage of development they are in with this transformative technology. We are excited about the plans Greg and our new leadership team members have developed to move BlockSpaces to greater levels of success, as we kick off this capital raise.”  
 
BlockSpaces, based in Tampa, Florida is a blockchain and distributed ledger technology focused product development company that offers end to end business solutions, including blockchain consulting and education, custom full-stack software product development, technical support for enterprise, and community support for a marketplace of blockchain applications. For more information visit blockspaces.io or contact rosa@blockspaces.io
Wednesday, 17 June 2020 01:00

Is the mid-market being left behind on blockchain?

Written by
Blockchain adoption within the enterprise has continued to increase over the past year, despite the impact of COVID-19 on the business landscape.  In fact, we have seen an increase in real-world blockchain use cases within specific industries.  The recent survey conducted by Deloitte on Global Blockchain in 2020 reveals that blockchain has moved from promise to reality.

When blockchain made its debut over 10 years ago, it was widely viewed as a one trick pony supporting the novel cryptocurrency phenomenon.  Today, we have an emerging technology that has become a game-changing, disruptive and foundational technology within many industries.  

Deloitte’s latest survey shows that almost 40% of respondents from major technology companies worldwide currently have blockchain in production and almost nine in ten think blockchain will become more important in the next three years.

Large enterprises (over $1B in revenue) have emerged as early adopters of the technology with 55% of them stating that blockchain is not only critical, but it is in their top 5 strategic priorities over the next 24 months.

While large enterprises continue to implement these solutions within their business and ecosystem; mid-market companies are being left behind.  The pandemic has been devastating to many mid-market companies, gutting their revenues, and causing them to pull back on any investment.  Additionally, mid-market companies are discovering that blockchain is hard, and they don’t have access to resources and talent to help them implement, or even connect, into these blockchain enabled ecosystems.

BlockSpaces has focused its collective efforts by developing a cloud-based middle-ware PaaS that simplifies integration of systems and software connecting mid-market companies to enterprise blockchain solutions and networks.

BlockSpaces Connect enables integration of both private and public blockchains allowing transactions that require different blockchain protocols to be executed efficiently from a single source. Although there are now hundreds of blockchain networks in operation, they are unable to integrate with each other, and interoperability solutions have primarily been focused on public (permission-less) blockchain networks leaving enterprise-focused, private (permissioned) blockchain integration solutions lacking.

If you are interested in learning more about blockchain or how BlockSpaces is bridging the gap between mid-market and enterprise, visit our website at:  https://blockspaces.io, or call us to start the conversation.
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BlockSpaces is dedicated to accelerating enterprise blockchain adoption. Combining advisory, technical functionality, and industry focused support with our core platform, BlockSpaces Connect™, we provide business value to an ecosystem of client innovators.


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802 E. Whiting Street  Tampa, Florida 33602
813.500.8585

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