Article by Siddharth Ramesh, MBBS Student at Kasturba Medical College, Manipal.
A very obvious problem that plagues the medical field is the nature in which medical records are stored. Let’s forget about the non-electronic records for a second, and just concentrate on the Electronic Health Record (EHR) for now.
Every hospital that you visit has its own Record Management Software. Some store it locally in their databases, others use a cloud service provider. Some store the data in a format compliant with insurance agencies, others just don’t care. Most of the time, your data is on a server that belongs to the hospital or is rented by the hospital.
The major problems that this model causes is the fragmentation of your medical information across hospitals, private medical practitioners, and m-health apps.
Inability to transfer your records from one hospital or application to another.
Inability to access vital medical information in case of emergencies.
Data leaks and hospitals selling your information to companies that benefit from it.
Manipulation of data by hospital authorities
Unauthorized access to private medical data
There is no doubt that data is the oil of the future economy. With machine learning algorithms becoming more and more robust, big companies will need more and more data. Social media platforms like Facebook are already facing the backlash of selling your data. Data is valuable intrinsically, and in the future, companies and big corporate may even pay you for your data. This may lead to a Universal Basic Income, in which you get money for just generating data, but that’s a story for another day.
The take-home message is this: Guard your data like you would guard you other valuables like gold, money, or cryptocurrencies. Because your data is valuable in the exact same way. Your medical data information, even more so.
I started working on MedBlocks inspired by another project in Manipal University that stores medical information on RFID cards.
MedBlocks makes it possible for anyone to add medical information about you on a public database. But don’t worry, no one will be able to make sense out of anything until you give them permission explicitly. All records created will be stored on a public blockchain, and cannot be manipulated at will. It tries to solve the problems mentioned above.