Use case spotlight: Truu, using Sovrin to provide trusted digital identity for doctors

October 25, 2018

Manreet Nijjar and Henry Goodier became doctors to provide critical care and give support to individuals in need – from cancer diagnoses to life saving operations. They believe the best care is given when trust exists between two entities such as a patient and a healthcare professional; a physician and a hospital; or healthcare organizations. That trust is, in part, fostered by strict regulations; for example, doctors are required to be certified and accredited by multiple organizations. However, current regulatory mandates are upheld by repetitive, inefficient, and time consuming manual processes, creating large administrative burdens for over-stretched doctors and HR staff.

Nijjar and Goodier recognized this challenge and created Truu, a secure, portable digital identity for doctors and healthcare professionals. Using Sovrin’s distributed ledger technology and W3C verifiable credentials, Truu modernizes the way medical services verify staff identities, qualifications and certifications, which in turn enables healthcare professionals to spend more time caring for patients.

Based in London, England, Truu collaborates closely with UK governmental and regulatory bodies such as the National Health System (NHS) to provide a digital identity system that meets current and future standards.

Sovrin asked Truu co-founder Dr. Manreet Nijjar to tell us a bit more:

How does Truu work?
Truu has developed a domain specific governance framework that allows individual doctors to hold and control their own identity and credentials. The first step is the real-world identity to digital identity interface. Users simply take their physical documents, such as a passport, to a verifier, like the Post Office or a hospital. These documents are then checked to high level of assurance using biometrics and then translated into a signed, digital credential which is sent to the Truu mobile device app. This step acts as the trust anchor that other organizations can have confidence in easily, quickly and remotely accessing. Organizations such as university medical schools and medical licensing authorities can now directly issue native digital credentials to the doctor to store on their portable device. Digital credentials provide doctors and other healthcare professionals a secure, reliable form of verifiable identity that can be used throughout their careers, no matter where they are employed. In turn, organizations can hire and work with doctors knowing there has been a trusted, assured system of verifying their credentials.

A key challenge for healthcare professionals right now is the time intensive nature of identity verification and credential compliance. Can you describe the overall impact and why the problem is so critical to solve?
It’s estimated that in the UK alone, doctors in training (60,000 in total) spend one-to-two days annually on ID and compliance checks, which equates to 500,000 patient encounters that are lost to these administrative duties. This doesn’t even account for the remaining 220,000 doctors (not in training) who must also undergo periodical ID and credentials checks.

A platform like Truu promises to significantly reduce the administrative burden for HR admin staff, which saves both time and money. Truu provides a higher level of assurance and standardization for ID and certification checks by reducing the subjectivity of manual physical checks. This increases trust, reduces costs and allows administrative staff to focus on vital tasks such as the health and wellbeing of their staff.

Why did Truu choose Sovrin?
Sovrin was chosen because it prioritizes privacy, security, personal control and revocation top in solving identity problems. Doctors must go through regulation and verification from multiple organizations each of which provides its own form of credentials. Truu needed a solution that could help facilitate these checks and scale as the number of credentials given to any one doctor increases.

A distributed ledger and blockchain technology like Sovrin encourages trust between different organizations by providing a standardization for schemas and credential definition, supported by a domain specific trust framework built on the Sovrin Trust Framework.

Sovrin has also been a leader in developing open decentralized identity standards that facilitates future interoperability with other ledgers and technologies and means there is no vendor lock in.

What does Truu hope to achieve?
The ultimate goal of Truu is to empower doctors. Truu increases confidence for both patients and the medical community by providing a guarantee that a professional is fit to give the care they are providing. Portable, digital and live identity checks can highlight any concerns about an individual or identify any necessary workplace adjustments.

Truu also reduces major administrative burdens for doctors which allows them to devote more time to giving the best care possible to patients. The doctor/patient relationship is one of the most trusted relationships an individual will have outside of their partner or family members. By increasing the level of assurance above the current processes, Truu helps reduce the chance of fraud when employing doctors and increases trust throughout the healthcare ecosystem.

Why is digital identity so important in healthcare?
Creating systems that include verifiable digital identity will not only raise standards for patient care but will help instill trust in future models of care such as remote telehealth systems and peer-to-peer communication between doctors, other healthcare professionals, organizations and patients. We at Truu ultimately believe smarter identities will lead to simpler relationships and therefore better care.

Simply put, “Smarter identities. Simpler relationships. Better care.”

The internet is missing a layer for secure identity. Unlike in the physical world where governments and organizations issue identification cards, certificates, and papers directly to identity holders that remain under their own personal control, there is no simple way to verify that you are who you say you are or what you claim to be on the internet. Truu is a perfect example of an identity problem that when solved, can bring positive change to countless lives.

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The Sovrin Network enables healthcare initiatives like Truu to create self-sovereign, verifiable digital identities, a need that is critical for reduced administrative costs, improved patient care and heightened trust between patients and their caregivers. Healthcare is one of the many possible applications that developers could build on Sovrin. To learn more about Truu, visit or follow them on Twitter.  

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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