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The Future of Medical Records on The Blockchain

The Future of Medical Records on The Blockchain.

With the recent explosion of Bitcoin and all the hype surrounding it, the one thing that is for certain is that its underlying technology called the blockchain will be an industry disruptor for many financial sectors in the years to come.  One of those sectors that can see a major use-case for such innovation is the health-related industries which have struggled with inefficiencies in data management, coordination, and it’s associated rising costs.

Along with additional costs, current EMR (Electronic Medical Records) and ePHI (Electronic Protected Health Information) systems incur a great amount of security risk including fraud and hacking.  These security risks not only endanger patient confidentiality but end up costing healthcare providers a substantial amount of resources yearly.  2016 alone resulted in more than 25 million compromised patient medical records costing the health industry over $500 million in fines and penalties.  The future prospects of blockchain technology aim to reduce these inherent inefficiencies by revolutionizing the speed, accuracy, convenience, and security of patient EMR’s.

What is the Blockchain?

In a nutshell, the blockchain technology can be described as “digital trust” and is the mechanism which makes Bitcoin transactions secure between users, without the need for a third party.  This decentralized currency is completely redundant in that it copies a ledger containing all transactions ever made across multiple nodes throughout the network, thus making it hacker-proof and constantly reconcilable preventing things like “double spending” in where one uses the same coin to make multiple purchases.   Think of it like a reliable and automatic checks and balances already built in and autonomously executes what banks and payment processors spend millions to do manually on a large scale.

Blockchain Use-Cases.

Ever since the inception of Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies and blockchain platforms have emerged, all with unique features, concepts, and use-cases such as Ethereum and Litecoin.  One new concept that is emerging is the idea of data integrity and security using this new technology, and one geared towards the healthcare industry is a new ICO (Initial Coin Offering) called MedChain.  According to their website “MedChain’s mission is to use blockchain technology to establish a better, more secure and transparent framework for Electronic Medical Records that vastly improve the quality of care for patients and helps reduce healthcare providers’ costs.”   This would be advantageous to all parties involved including patients taking more control over their own medical records as well as who has access to those records.

Smartphone applications are in development aiming to provide the most up-to-date information as well as notify patients of access requests by medical service providers, hospitals, and healthcare providers.  All information will be secure on the decentralized blockchain and encrypted, so it would be only accessible with the patient’s private key.  The software in development for healthcare providers will, in turn, provide near-instant access to medical records and could save billions in fines each year associated with data breaches and leaks.  This company looks like it has a promising business model and surely will have competitors in the future looking to solve the same problems within the Healthcare sector.

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