Differences between decentralized systems and distributed systems.

John Felipe Branch, blockchaineconomics

Differences between decentralized systems and distributed systems. To achieve my objective I will explain it using the German health system, or at least the one in the city where I live, Dresden.

The German health system is in fact decentralized, which is better than centralized but is not better than distributed, which should be the aim.

Maybe I am incurring into some misunderstandings as I haven been in Germany for 3 years and luckily did not need any major operations etc. So please correct me if I am wrong at some point, or is far different in other cities.

What it is not the health system: centralized, like in many parts of the world. Where there is a big hospital for a small city or maybe few of them. Which could generate a single point of failure.

For example: in case of an emergency, such as a pandemic would probably collapse. This is close to what happened in Spain in April 2020, when the hospitals were just used to take care of coronavirus cases, other people could not get any attention.

For events like this a decentralized networks is better prepared, maybe a hospital is out of capacity or closed and the small Praxis, doctor's practice / clinics, wil keep working. But this system is not yet perfect it must be connected with each other - clinics - hospitals - pharmacies. that in the case that a middle node is down the other participants keep functioning.

And the German health systems has this shape, decentralized, small clinics around the city. Probably one in the corner of your street or no more than few streets away from your home with a general practitioner, for basic cases.

But what if a node goes down? (A clinic closed)

Here comes my personal case, a week ago I was short in a medicine I take. I went to the local clinic which was closed because of a coronavirus between its workers. Ok, I went to the pharmacy to get this medicine which is not given away without a prescription, no mater what. Okey I went to other clinic which would not prescribe this medicine without a blood analysis which between appointment and getting the result would take a week. I decided to wait for another few days expecting a substitution for my local doctor. But it didn't have any substitution in 8 days...

Analysis of problem here, other local clinics do not have access to my health data or medicines. Neither the pharmacies have access to my medicines, the ones previously taken, because the prescription is always given in paper.

Well, but I needed my medicine already run out of it and while I can miss some days better not to do it. Then as suggested by the pharmacist I went to the hospital, which I did not want to at first because I know they are at full capacity because of coronavirus and I was not dying. But I had to. After few disagreements, they took care and I got the medicine.

A change towards a distributed system is here much needed, where all the required information is accessible to all adequate participants. A distributed system is capable to keep working at fully capacity while half of it has shutdown. Germany needs a collapse proof system, far better communicated between local clinics and pharmacies. Easy to solve this problem and many more which may come in the near future and more unexpected even than a pandemic. For this improvement I suggest the system in functioning in Spain for medicine prescription via your electronic-ID you have your insurance data, and medicine prescribed by the doctor and your history. You go to a pharmacy just with the e-ID and you walk out with your medicines.

A last comment, please get vaccinated my clinic was closed because coronavirus and we can help a lot to fight the pandemic and protect our doctors with this small gesture.

Note: Not every dysfunctional model in real world could be solved by blockchain but here is an interesting case for blockchain implementation. Note 2: I am not complaining, as we are in a pandemic and it was a pretty unlucky event. Just bringing a personal useful example.