Blockchain & Electrical Health Records

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There is a lot more to it but at a high level, Blockchain is a decentralized encrypted database that keeps records of digital transactions.  These databases are distributed across many hosts with high computing power and kept in synchronization via the Internet. Access can be restricted and require membership or be open to the public.

The Healthcare industry is currently struggling with ways to keep an accurate medical history on patients.  The problem is that every time a patient visits a new hospital or doctor the diagnosis and or prescriptions are only kept at that office.  There is no single standard that is being followed.  This makes it extremely difficult to share information and makes it practically impossible to view a patients full medical history.

Blockchain may be the solution, however, it may not.  There are some advantages and disadvantages with this solution and it brings up a larger question.  Do we want Electrical Healthcare Records managed by one entity? Or not?

I look at criminal history records as a good example of a system in place that is centrally managed by the US Gov’t.  Law Enforcement experienced a similar issue as healthcare decades ago. Police at all levels (local, state and federal) are required to submit arrests to the FBI so there is a central database of all incidents.  This way a criminal history record follows an individual from state to state.  I believe having a central database is the best way to do this, that being said, I am not aware of decentralized databases being an option decades ago.

There seems to be a big push towards using blockchain for health records.  Many large players, such as IBM & Accenture think this is the way to go.  I am not sold on the idea yet.  I see some issues with this such as governance, data security concerns, etc.  In addition, it does not solve the data standardization problem that healthcare is experiencing.

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One Response to Blockchain & Electrical Health Records

  1. sydhavely says:

    Balanced, thoughtful, and I believe a prudent path to follow. Not time yet for Blockchain and healthcare records.

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