Coronavirus: IBM Launching Blockchain 'Health Pass' to Support Return to Public Spaces

IBM Watson Health says the digital pass would help individuals safely return to shared physical spaces like work, school, flights or stadiums.

Oct 13, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:08 a.m. UTC

An IBM division is launching a blockchain-based health verification system designed to help individuals safely return to shared physical spaces like work, school, flights or stadiums.

  • IBM Watson Health, a data, analytics and technology company working within the health industry, announced Monday its Digital Health Pass would allow organizations to establish their own criteria for COVID-19 health verification.
  • These include test results and temperature scans that can be generated for an individual's pass, and recorded and shared using the IBM Blockchain network.
  • Organizations are seeking solutions to aid the return to public spaces, according to the general manager of IBM Watson Health, Paul Roma, yet they also need to protect users' privacy.
  • The digital pass will use "sophisticated cryptographic techniques" in order to verify individuals' health statuses while ensuring the underlying data does not become public, the company said.
  • Users can manage their information through an encrypted smartphone wallet app, according to the project's website.
  • They can load health results, such as COVID-19 tests, by scanning a QR code into the app, which can then be viewed by parties with access to the user's data.
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