As it stands today each hospital/clinic/doctor may maintain its own set of records on its own private (and often insecure) database(s). Sharing records between these separate entities is often inefficient, often involves data transfers over insecure networks/domains/lines, requires paperwork and manual input by both patients (or legal guardians) and medical professionals in order to execute, etc. It is a major limiting factor impacting the healthcare industry’s ability to most effectively heal and/or care for patients.
What if instead, similar to our brief discussion of Identity factors in the HR industry, each patient or legal guardian possessed (and solely owned) the entirety of that patient’s medical history. A patient then attending a new hospital or medical center could easily share any pertinent data (or all, it is of course the owner’s choice) with healthcare professionals in this new facility, within seconds. There could be tiered permissioning logic also, whereby one may choose to only reveal an allergy to medicationX when meeting a new primary care physician, but may choose to also reveal these-factors to an ER physician if a person is unaccompanied by these family members, deemed in critical condition, and/or incapable of responding. The possibilities are here and entirely programmable.
Hand in hand with this comes our next healthcare use case, involving interoperability of various systems and easier/quicker mass-analysis of health, diagnostic, and treatment data. A patient’s records could be programmed in such a way that any time the patient enters a medical facility for care, the diagnostic and treatment data itself and only certain useful factors might be forwarded to a party or parties involved in compiling and performing statistical analysis of this data to output notable trends. The patient could of course choose not to provide the “legal name” bit, but might select to provide their “birthdate”, “race”, “diet data”, etc. for purposes of strengthening the sum value of all data, thereby potentially helping everyone’s health more moving forward.
Now we might examine possible blockchain applications regarding proper control and permissioning of accesses to “controlled substances”, as well as the sanitary control and verification of medical equipment and medications. There are simple solutions for properly handling each of these, and these solutions are mindbogglingly more simple than the issues many of us experience in some capacity stemming from not properly handling them.
Assign identifiers (QR, hash keys, etc.) to medications and chemicals from production all the way to consumption. Assign identifiers to any and all parties involved in production, transport, packaging, distributing, prescribing, etc., set logic rules in smart contracts to dictate who can and can’t do what and who has access to what points of data, record who does what when, environment/storage conditions, etc. For sanitation requirements of equipment, attach data to each device’s identifier such as when it was first used, how many times it has been used, when it was last cleaned (and how and by whom), storage location and conditions, when it expires, any maintenance it has received for what and by who, on and on. Possibilities truly are limitless provided proper scalability, which we’ll discuss more in-depth in the IoT section, and which Dragonchain happens to possess an unbounded store of. The agony of knowing these solutions exist with limited power to spread them in a timely manner is inexpressible on any pain-scale from 1-10.
- Protecting patient health information
- Data interoperability
- Share protected health information under HIPAA regulations
- Ensure high quality data and good data governance
- Faster and safer data processing
- Improved record-keeping capabilities