Blockchain and the transformation it brings to medical records

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Transforming Medical Records with Blockchain

After cryptocurrency, blockchain medical records are doing the rounds. That’s right! Blockchain is about to transform medical records for good. In this blog, we will discuss this technology and its potential to revolutionize the healthcare industry in terms of medical records. So without further ado, let’s jump in.

Current Challenges with Medical Records

Medical records are an important aspect of healthcare digital transformation trends, providing essential information about patients’ health histories, diagnoses, medications, and treatment plans. However, keeping medical records on blockchain poses several challenges, including the need for interoperability, ensuring data quality and completeness, providing patient access, and addressing privacy and security concerns.

1. Overview of current medical record systems

Paper-based records are physical documents containing patient information, while electronic medical records (EMRs) are digital versions of the same.

Authorized users can access EMRs through secure login credentials, whether the records are stored on-site or in the cloud.

2. Challenges with current medical record systems

One of the main challenges with current medical record systems is interoperability. The use of different systems by healthcare providers can make it difficult to share patient data accurately and efficiently.

Another challenge is data quality and completeness. Medical records may contain incomplete or inaccurate information, which can affect patient care. Patient access to medical records can also be a challenge, as some patients may not have easy access to their records due to issues with technology or a lack of patient portals. 

Finally, privacy and security concerns surrounding medical records are an ongoing challenge. Sensitive patient information contained in medical records needs protection against unauthorized access or theft.

How Blockchain Can Transform Medical Records

How Blockchain Can Transform Medical Records

Blockchain technology is a decentralized and distributed ledger that allows for secure and transparent transactions. In fact, as per Statista, by 2025, 55% of healthcare applications are projected to adopt blockchain for commercial deployment. Its advantages in medical record keeping have the potential to transform the way healthcare providers store and share patient information.

1. Blockchain technology and its advantages

Blockchain technology is based on a decentralized system that allows for the creation and verification of digital records without the need for a central authority. The technology allows for the creation of a digital ledger that can record and store transactions in a secure and transparent way. 

This means that all transactions are visible to all parties involved and can be verified without the need for intermediaries. Blockchain technology’s immutability means that recorded transactions cannot be altered or deleted.

2. Advantages of blockchain in healthcare & medical record keeping

Blockchain and medical records can lead to increased security and privacy of patient information. It provides a secure and transparent way to store and share patient data, reducing the risk of data breaches or unauthorized access. It also allows for the creation of smart contracts that can automate processes, such as patient consent, which can further enhance security and privacy.

Another benefit of blockchain technology is its ability to increase the interoperability of medical records. With traditional systems, different healthcare providers use different systems, making it difficult to share patient data accurately and efficiently.

Authorized parties can access a shared ledger created by blockchain technology, thereby increasing the interoperability of medical records.

3. Comparison of traditional systems to blockchain-based systems

Traditional medical record-keeping systems often centralize patient data stored in a single location, such as a hospital or healthcare provider’s server.

This can make it difficult to share patient data across different healthcare providers, and there is a risk of data breaches or unauthorized access.

In contrast, blockchain medical records use a decentralized ledger that can be accessed by authorized parties. This allows for the secure and transparent sharing of patient data, reducing the risk of data breaches or unauthorized access. Blockchain-based systems can also automate processes, such as patient consent, which can further enhance security and privacy & in the near future AI in healthcare will also provide better solutions.

4. Benefits for patients and healthcare providers

Blockchain medical records can benefit both patients and healthcare providers. For patients, blockchain technology can provide increased security and privacy of their medical information, as well as easier access to their records. Patients can also have greater control over their data, as they can give or revoke consent for their data to be shared.

For healthcare providers, blockchain technology can increase the interoperability of medical records, allowing for more accurate and efficient sharing of patient data. It can also automate processes, such as patient consent, which can reduce administrative burdens and costs.

Examples

Examples of blockchain medical record system

Blockchain medical data record systems are digital platforms that enable healthcare information to be securely stored, accessed, and shared using blockchain technology. Blockchain-based medical record systems offer several advantages over traditional medical record systems, including improved security, increased transparency, and better accessibility.

There are several existing blockchain medical records systems, including MedRec, Patientory, and Healthereum. Each of these systems offers unique features and benefits

1. MedRec

MedRec is a blockchain-based medical record system developed by researchers at MIT. It uses a private blockchain to store patient medical data, which can only be accessed by authorized healthcare providers. MedRec also uses smart contracts to enable patients to control who can access their medical data.

It offers several benefits, including improved security, increased privacy, and better data sharing.

Several hospitals in the US, including the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, have successfully implemented MedRec.

2. Patientory

Patientory is a blockchain-based medical record system that allows patients to store and manage their medical data securely. It uses a private blockchain to store patient data, which can only be accessed by authorized healthcare providers.

Patientory offers several benefits, including improved security, increased transparency, and better accessibility. Patientory has been successfully implemented in several hospitals and healthcare organizations in the US.

3. Healthereum

Healthereum is a blockchain medical record system that allows patients to manage their medical data securely. It uses a public blockchain to store patient data, which can be accessed by authorized healthcare providers.

Healthereum offers several benefits, including improved security, increased transparency, and better patient engagement. Several healthcare organizations in the US have successfully implemented Healthereum.

4. Medicalchain

The UK has successfully implemented Medicalchain, a blockchain-based medical record system. It allows patients to store and manage their medical data securely using blockchain technology. Several hospitals in the UK, including the Groves Medical Group, have used Medicalchain.

Potential Challenges and Risks

Challenges of Blockchain in Medical Records

While blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize medical record keeping, there are also several potential challenges and risks associated with its implementation in healthcare. 

These challenges and risks include:

1. Interoperability

One of the key challenges with implementing blockchain-based medical record systems is the issue of interoperability.

The absence of a standard for storing and sharing medical data on a blockchain could lead to compatibility issues between different blockchain-based medical record systems. This could limit the effectiveness of these systems in improving patient outcomes and reducing healthcare costs.

Solution: Developing common data standards and protocols for blockchain-based medical record systems could help overcome interoperability issues. Standardization efforts should involve collaboration between healthcare providers, healthcare app development companies, and regulatory bodies.

2. Privacy and Security

Although blockchain technology is inherently secure, concerns about data privacy and security in the context of medical record keeping still exist.

If unauthorized parties gain access to a patient’s private key, they can access the patient’s medical data. Furthermore, blockchain-based medical record systems could pose a risk of perpetuating healthcare fraud or data breaches.

Solution: Implementing strong encryption and authentication protocols, such as multi-factor authentication and biometric verification, can help mitigate privacy and security risks associated with blockchain-based medical record systems.

Robust data governance policies and procedures can help ensure that healthcare providers handle patient data in accordance with relevant regulations and ethical considerations.

3. Scalability

As the amount of medical data generated by patients continues to grow, there is a risk that blockchain-based medical record systems could become overwhelmed, leading to slower transaction speeds and increased costs.

Solution: One potential solution is to incorporate wearable technology in healthcare. Wearables can collect and transmit real-time health data, reducing the burden on traditional medical record systems. The integration of wearables with blockchain-based medical record systems can improve the accuracy and security of patient data while also reducing costs.

Furthermore, implementing a tiered data storage approach can also improve scalability. This approach involves storing frequently accessed data on faster storage media, such as solid-state drives, while storing less frequently accessed data on slower storage media, such as hard disk drives.

4. Regulatory Compliance

Blockchain medical records must comply with existing healthcare regulations, including HIPAA and GDPR. However, the decentralized nature of blockchain technology could make it difficult to ensure compliance with these regulations.

Solution: Healthcare providers and technology companies must work together to ensure that blockchain-based medical record systems comply with relevant regulations. This could involve developing new regulatory frameworks or adapting existing regulations to address the unique challenges posed by blockchain technology.

Future of Blockchain in Medical Record Keeping

Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize many industries, and the healthcare industry is no exception. Medical record keeping is an area where blockchain technology could have a significant impact in terms of data security, interoperability, and accessibility.

Fragmentation and siloing of patient data in traditional medical record-keeping systems can make it difficult for healthcare providers to access and share information efficiently.

Hiring a mobile app development team in Singapore can help you build a secure and decentralized platform for storing and sharing medical records, allowing patients to have more control over their data and healthcare providers to access a patient’s complete medical history in real-time.

Potential future applications of blockchain medical records

Here are two potential blockchain applications in medical record-keeping.

1. Creation of a patient-centric record system. 

This system would allow patients to manage their medical records through a secure and decentralized blockchain platform, giving them more control over their health data. Patients would be able to grant access to their records to healthcare providers as needed, and the system would also facilitate the sharing of data between healthcare providers, reducing duplication and improving the coordination of care.

2. Smart contracts to manage consent and data sharing. 

Smart contracts are self-executing contracts that automate the process of enforcing the terms of an agreement.

Healthcare providers could use medical record-keeping to manage patient consent for data sharing, thereby ensuring that patients are fully informed about who and how their data will be accessed.

Want to know more about smart contracts? Stay tuned for our next blog.

Conclusion

The future of blockchain medical records is promising. With its potential to create a secure and decentralized platform for storing and sharing medical records. Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize the healthcare industry and improve patient outcomes. 

The potential benefits of blockchain technology in medical record keeping make it a promising area for future development and investment.

Do you find the premise of blockchain in medical records interesting? Convert the idea into an app. Connect with us today!