Serious Medical Difficulties
Secure data management is a pain point for many industries, but there may be none more significant than private health care. Security is so lacking that a single compromised computer once led to over 100 million personal records being compromised from the Army National Guard, Anthem, and the Office of Personal Management.
Under current platforms, data is stored and transferred using outdated, and unsecured systems. When a person is traveling, or changes physicians, they have to contact their previous practice in order to have their records transferred. This lack of unified data access is a major complication in cases of emergency.
Many believe that the Blockchain could soon be used to provide secure, universal access to our most sensitive information.
Enter the Blockchain
The solution being proposed is to create a platform that would store all patient information, across practitioners, in one unified infrastructure. Though the platform itself would be centralized, access to the information within the platform would be decentralized via the blockchain. Data would be input, sent, and received using permissions that only the patient (and their chosen surrogates) would control. This could be accomplished through multi-signature addresses, token controlled access, smart contracts, or an amalgamation of several facets of blockchain technology.
No single compromised computer would allow individual data to be accessed, creating a system built on privacy, transparency, and security. Practitioners in every medical field, all over the world, could access their patients full medical history in seconds, simply by obtaining the proper permissions. Such a unified database would also allow collaboration between healthcare providers, in a way that doesn’t not currently exist today.
New data could be input by the patients themselves, using specific health tracking apps on their phones and other peripheral hardware. Daily activity data would be collected and input into the platform, viewable by connected physicians at any time. Patients themselves would also have viewing rights to their profile, allowing them to track their own health in ways that are currently not possible.
Using the Blockchain to protect and distribute patients records is so desirable, that even the U.S. Government has requested that research into the topic be submitted. It is possible that health care will be the first real-world enterprise to fully embrace the Blockchain, and its underlying technologies.