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Is blockchain the solution for fragmented medical info?

Shared by Radhika Narayanan | 0 0 0 | about 4 months ago

The use of different electronic records systems in hospitals and specialist clinics makes it difficult for doctors or care teams to have a complete view of a patients health history or treatment record. Blockchain has emerged as a possible solution to this data fragmentation problem.Blockchain, which makes use of distributed ledger technology, offers a way of decentralising information without compromising integrity and security. A pilot project at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, for example, used the Ethereum network to create so-called smart contracts that pulled patient data from different local storage systems and allowed separate medical practitioners to see it, if consent is given by the patient.Healthcare blockchains have also been piloted in environments where medical records are hard to maintain. Refugees and migrants have little to no access to their medical history, and the humanitarian workforce that treats them is often transient. In May, start-up Iryo deployed blockchain-based electronic health records in refugee camps in Jordan, enabling people to store health data on their mobile phones, and take it with them. Blockchain also supports researchers in collecting large amounts of data for their studies. Note that even when patients volunteer their data to be used in research, it can be hard to manage the large volumes of information securely and in a way that gives patients control over permission rights. BreastWeCan.com, a project that encourages women to share the results of their mammograms with medical researchers, uses blockchain to allow people to control their data and grant or deny permission for its use.Navin Ramachandran, a radiology consultant at University College London Hospital, says distributed ledgers “are not a silver bullet to all our problems”. Nonetheless, Dr. Ramachandran believes they are fundamental for data integrity and control. The doctor currently works with the IOTA Foundation, a German non-profit organisation that is developing distributed ledger technology.

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