Ron's doctor Eric Topol, a world-renowned heart specialist, gives Ron a smartphone and presses a small black plastic rectangle over Ron's bare chest. Ron holds the phone between the palms of his cupped hands, his fingertips pressed against the metal bands on the back of the plastic jacket of the phone. At the beginning he is impassive, uncertain about what to expect. The phone displays the peaks and valleys of Ron's heartbeat. The portable electrocardiogram (ECG) also records its heart rate in large numbers of blocks above the graph.
The case illustrates how patients are increasingly able to take control of their condition diagnostics through personal digital technology. A series of smartphone attachments allows people to monitor and test their conditions and even inject themselves with life-saving sera. However, patients do not yet have unlimited access to their records of medical and insurance claims from a single trusted online source.
Blockchain and personal digital technology offer patients a secure and reliable network through which they can track their patients' history and claims. Blockchain solutions can provide the last piece of the puzzle on how patients can ultimately gain control of their medical history.
The dawn of patient-centered medicine
Topol estimated that digital health technology "… helps to make the doctor-patient relationship more intimate." Using today's existing digital infrastructure, visits to the office will be more pleasant, "he said. "And [visits] it is not even necessary to be in person … All we can do can be done from a distance," he added.
Digital health evangelists like Topol see a patient-centered world in which patients can be better informed about their health. Topol wrote in The Wall Street Journal that: "the vast majority of doctors are not willing to send emails to patients or to share their office notes, get a copy of a report after laboratory tests or medical scans it seems impossible, and do not even think about obtaining the results or images alone. "
Digital digital technologies will release patients from the medical-centric authority of Western medical institutions for the first time since Hippocrates wrote his oath for the doctors in the fifth century BC Not only is an entire industry upset by new technologies, but we are witnessing an entire social contract between patient and doctor ripped after more than 2,500 years of being carved in stone. And Blockchain technology already plays an active role in this process.
The Benefits of Blockchain
Blockchain is an electronic ledger that members of an online community share. In the health sector, the community may consist of patients, doctors, medical assistants, first responders as ambulance technicians, insurance claims administrators, suppliers, and more.
Blockchain offers each member of the network the exact same transaction log of anyone else in the community. It drastically reduces paperwork and prevents the loss of files afflicting the health sector. The technology also reduces the layers of third-party actors that inflate the cost of patient care and contribute to the lack of location, coordination and consistency of patient records.
When a member updates the register, the updates of each other participant are updated simultaneously. Every transaction – or block – that the application acts as a chain to the previous transactions itself becomes immutable. Nobody can change a block once it is in the chain. In this way, patients, doctors and administrators can use blockchain technology to track the real and unaltered condition of any record recorded in the blockchain in a single trusted source. Registries can include patient histories, digital diagnostic data and reports, patient treatments, insurance claim forms, and more. In addition, Blockchains can also use special cryptographic keys to protect private data from prying eyes.
Several projects are already trying to transform the advantages of Blockchain into profitable solutions in the field of Healthcare. Dentacoin is one of these examples that has maintained the highest position on Coinmarketcap among all Blockchain projects related to health care. In addition to developing various software applications for dentists and patients (such as a mobile dental health education app, magazines and market research platforms) and used as a means of payment within a growing global network of dentists , laboratories, suppliers, the Netherlands The Dentacoin Foundation is currently working on a patient-managed database of patient records.
Using a secure and reliable Blockchain infrastructure, this decentralized database will store details of key patients, dental images, diagnostics, previous treatment trials, and related lab results. Only patients will be able to upload and manage their health data. The option will also be available to invite dentists to access the records and thus identify and improve treatment plans and recommendations. Supported by a community of dentists dedicated to patient-centered dental care, the Foundation's next goal is to implement the Dentacoin insurance program that will reward dentists for prior treatment.
Patient data in the hands of patients
The disintermediation of the layers of bureaucracy through the smartphone app for patients falls back into the strengths of Blockchain. During the pre-digital era, the patient would have to enter the clinic and wait until a doctor was available to see him. Now, remote digital technologies can transmit patient data directly into Blockchains, where doctors can review and act on conditions. Blockchain has the potential to accelerate the transfer of power from doctors and their institutions to patients.