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Blockchain

The latest technological trend revolutionizing the currency industry and now moving to healthcare

What is Blockchain

Blockchain is a distributed database existing on multiple computers at the same time. It is constantly growing as new sets of recordings, or ‚Äėblocks‚Äô, are added to it. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to the previous block, so they actually form a chain. The database is not managed by any particular body; instead, everyone in the network gets a copy of the whole database. Old blocks are preserved forever and new blocks are added to the ledger irreversibly, making it impossible to manipulate by faking documents, transactions and other information.

All blocks are encrypted in a special way, so everyone can have access to all the information but only a user who owns a special cryptographic key is able to add a new record to a particular chain. As long as you remain the only person who knows the key, no one can manipulate your transactions. In addition, cryptography is used to guarantee synchronization of copies of the blockchain on each computer (or node) in the network. 

Blockchain for Healthcare

Although there has been lots of technological advancements in the healthcare industry, the healthcare providers are still facing issues in maintaining the EHR and are still waiting for a standard process or technology to come to their rescue. A vast majority of hospital systems still cant easily/safely share their data. Privacy has always remained a concern. Doctors are spending more time typing than talking to patients and it’s wearing on them which is in turn reflecting on patient healthcare. Hence streamlining the EHR process has become the No. 1 priority right now. So how do we streamline this process? Here is when we think about Blockchain.

We can think of blockchain as a digital medical record: every record is a block which has a label stating the date and time when the record was entered. The medical history is extremely important for diagnosis and treatment purposes, so neither the doctor nor the patient should be able to modify the records already made. Nevertheless, the doctor owns a private key that allows him to make new records, and the patient owns a public key that allows him to access the records anytime. This method makes the data both accessible and secure.

So, blockchain is by definition independent, transparent, and secure. The advantages of such a distributed ledger are obvious: being it cost and risk reduction, data security, or transactions transparency, companies from most industries can surely benefit from this new technology.

Blockchain Applications for EHR

  1. Each event on the blockchain has a unique hash key corresponding to the contents of a record. Hence this will ensure file integrity since an authorized user can verify if the contents of the record have been changed or not.
  2. Each user(doctor, patient, nurse or other authorized user) will have particular user permissions and therefore, only authorized personnel may access record information. This will ensure cybersecurity.
  3. Each party has a record linked to the original record that is registered to the blockchain. This way, everyone who has the appropriate role and responsibility, can append information to the record avoiding issues such as inconsistent or duplicate records.

What is in it for Patients

With healthcare providers getting a systematic process for maintaining the EHR, it will mean that the patients will receive more personalized care and their healthcare will not get compromised. With the growing efforts in genomics towards cancer detection, if blockchain supports the process, it will mean better solutions for those who are fighting cancer or those who have a chance of developing cancer. With better EHR system, it will ensure that the patient records are safe and secure and the confidentiality in maintained. This will also reduce the chance of fraud and abuse towards the patients.

Other uses of Blockchain in Healthcare

  1. A drug can be traced right from the manufacturer to the wholesalers, pharmacists and patients. This will help in drug counterfeit issues.
  2. Altering or modifying data from clinical trials fraudulently can be eradicated.
  3. Patients, researchers and medical providers can collaborate to produce precision drugs focussed on individualized care.
  4. Genomics research via access to genetic data secured on blockchain.
  5. Nationwide interoperability. 

Where do we come in

The sole purpose of PatientMD is to facilitate its users with an integrated healthcare platform which would help them communicate easily with their healthcare providers and store as well as share their medical records securely over our blockchain based EHR. Here the patient will have complete control over there data as to who will have what kind of access and how much of it. Thus our aim to to maintain the privacy of our users.

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