MedicalChain utilises the immutability of Blockchain to maintain a single, secure, and correct version of a patient’s medical records and thus eliminate the various hazards surrounding incorrect, or incomplete medical records. This project, led by a UK based team of both physicians and those with business backgrounds, illustrates some of the less obvious use-cases of Blockchain in a tech application, demonstrating how Blockchain lends itself to facilitating many interesting capabilities.
SO WHY BLOCKCHAIN?
Firstly, the primary benefit of Blockchain in such a platform is its immutability. The nature of a distributed record will ensure that there is only one, correct, version of a patient’s medical history. This is one of the core benefits of Blockchain technology and has been used in many other applications, but in this particular case, when used to ensure a patient’s medical history is correct, various health hazards and potential incorrect treatment of injury due to the split, and often incomplete, nature of records maintained on legacy systems may be avoided.
Another benefit that MedicalChain will bring to patients is increased privacy, and authority over access to their medical records. MedicalChain returns control to the user and allows them to assign different levels of access to different agents, and, if a patient wishes, limited periods in which relevant parties may read and write data onto their record on Blockchain. In the interests of transparency (and thus in the spirit of Blockchain) users will also be able to access a log of everyone who has accessed their medical data. Blockchain makes this system of privacy and control possible and ensures that this data cannot be tampered with.
From this feature the utility of a Blockchain based platform expands exponentially:
Being hosted on the Blockchain will also allow these records to provide for more effective telemedicine communication. Telemedicine refers to online consultation with medical professionals via webcam and microphone. Currently, telemedicine is inhibited by the lack of access to health records – making it much harder for medical professionals to assess and help patients through such digital methods. However, through MedicalChain, patients may grant doctors permission to access their records as they see fit – facilitating far greater utility in telemedicine.
Additionally, The authority that MedicalChain confers patients over their own records also brings opportunity for both patients and researchers by participating in a data market. MedicalChain allows for patients to realise the value of their medical data aby providing patients with the ability to sell data to medical research institutions. Naturally, this process will be transparent and, in most cases, the identity of the user behind the data will remain anonymous. Furthermore, through the use of Blockchain, patients who participate in this exchange will be rewarded with MedTokens – the coin behind the platform.
Finally, being built on a Blockchain, MedicalChain lends itself to the creation of third-party applications that will interact with the data hosted on the Blockchain, providing services like medication assessment and dietary advice.