Healthcare Blockchain Says No To Passive Observation As A Patient

12/31/2017 03:25 am ET Updated Dec 31, 2017

Data is used to understand a patient’s condition or illness, measure provider efficiencies and only until now can register a “Digital” lifetime of care.

Proof Work, the company behind the concept, was awarded the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt as one of the finalists.

The blockchain distributed health company is named after Proof “of” Work. Proof “of” Work is a term used to mine and upkeep the Bitcoin (BTC) network. The same Proof used in Bitcoin can be used to automate patient care, reduce cost and increase efficiencies.

Digitalization of new medical records and datasets is starting to become the norm. These healthcare datasets are the most valuable asset when understanding what treatment is needed, medicine to take, and even measuring the performance of care. But who owns the data is a common question being asked. Is it the patients themselves? Doctors and researchers? Research institutions or governments?

In the practice of medicine, data has become more valuable than oil. But until now, nobody cared as it was on paper and stuck in filing cabinets. Now it has become digitized it opens the door for distribution and ownership network.

Blockchain a private and secure distributed ledger is most famous for underpinning the technology behind Bitcoin. However, it can also be used to leverage the upkeep of a global healthcare data network says Proof. The Proof network consists of doctors collecting patients’ health information, laboratory tests, medical trials, insurance claims, drugs prescribed but most importantly patients who own their own privately collected data.

Patients at home can now participate collecting data from 3rd party healthcare companies or IOT devices like Apple or FitBit.

Co-Founder David Suter says, “A full collaborative approach between the patient, provider, and payee increases meaningful use data streamlines into population health.” Suter goes on to say, “In the same way the information is already used to seek advice between doctors and research companies, the same should be the case with Patients seeking advice from other providers online or in person.”

The medical record was always physician’s property, and still is in many countries and legislation. But do physicians own the patient data? Do researchers own the data? Does the patient own the data?

In Europe, each party in the network requires explicit consent to reuse the data and sharing it without the consent of the patient is problematic. Breach of GDPR can be fined up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 Million (whichever is greater). Proof has a solution that ensures all the data is controlled by the patient and consent managed which could be the key to ensure privacy and security are upheld.

Through a concept coined by Proof Work called “value-based-distribution,” data is no longer stuck in silos and should be accessed on any device, ensuring rightful ownership to each contributor in the network. That could be Apple and the Patient or the Patient and the Doctor. It would all depend on who entered the data and under what circumstance. Guy Aharonovsky, also co-founder, goes on to say; “Through a concept called Zero Knowledge Proof, permissions can be granted to control who sees what, where, and when. For example, Patients should not have to reveal a full medical record to prove an illness”.

A real life-saving example would be a patient traveling away from home and facing an emergency where his medical files are required but inaccessible. So far, this has been almost impossible to achieve. Using mobile phones information can now be transferred instantly. With “valued-based-distribution “the blockchain can be used with smart contracts to permit access for healthcare incumbents or someone next of kin to gain access in such a case. Traditionally patients would stick to one doctor, but with the increasing number of digital apps and new telemedicine, this is a dying trend. Data needs to travel with the patient and without having to wait for fax, emails or printed documents to be sent.

Proof healthcare blockchain can upkeep a medical data network adding accountability along with a longitudinal digital continuum of care. A big vision, and it will take to get there. But…this is true value-base-care the $7.6 trillion healthcare industry so desperately needs.

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