Society as a whole is becoming more aware of their health.
This awareness is partly due to technology. There are apps and devices to track our calories, our fitness routines, and even to help us clear or challenge our minds.
However, technology has not benefitted society when it comes to our medical records. Granted, hospitals have updated their equipment for their use, but not for the patient’s best interest nor convenience. If one patient moves from one doctor to another, their medical records do not follow. Each time you meet a new doctor, you have to fill out the same information and take the same tests without the doctor referencing your past history.
A concept developed by MIT Graduate student researchers Ariel Ekblaw, Asaf Azaria and Thiago Vieira, along with Senior Research Scientist Andrew Lippman, hopes to change all that by utilizing blockchain technology. Their prototype will allow patients to access their medical records as well as grant specific medical professionals permission to the information, by using the Ethereum blockchain.
According to their updated whitepaper, MedRec will provide one simple interface for patients and doctors to use. This interface gives the power back to the patient. They can view their records on demand and watch their physician or specialist update their medical status in real time.
Most people dread seeing a new doctor. Not only do they have to fill out the “New Patient” forms, they now have to explain their medical history. The worst part is the patient may not remember every visit or detail from their past. With MedRec, patients grant the new doctor access to their medical records eliminating any possible misinformation.
MedRec is not just for patients and doctors. People can share this data with specific persons, such as a guardian or power of attorney. Family members can also share their information with each other. This could come in handy for the patient, as well as the doctor, to know the family history.
The patient’s data is protected and secured by smart contracts built on a private Ethereum blockchain. The content of the patient’s medical record will not be stored on the blockchain and their data will be “kept securely in providers’ existing data storage infrastructure.”
ETHnews reached out to both MedRec and MIT Media for more clarification on this project. Neither has responded by the time of publication.