The manner in which we keep and transfer our medical records has gone a long way. From pen and paper to our current digitized system of data management. Still, that does not mean that the present-day arrangement is not marred by flaws and inconsistencies.
For instance, there are medical institutions on different administrative levels (local, county, state, etc). This means that they could be using completely different systems that manage their EMRs (Electronic Medical Records). Practically speaking, when a patient visits his local doctor and they sent him to get therapy at a hospital, there might be problems in synchronizing the institutions’ EMR systems. Bringing these in accord and efficiently handling the patient’s medical records at all levels might call for unforeseen resources.
In addition, with the current system, the only time the patient has access to their records is upon request at their doctor’s or in the hospital.
Still, there are other negative effects of the current way in which we handle medical records. For instance, medical researchers using the data for important and possibly life-saving studies are often restricted and unable to access the data in a unified fashion.
Moreover, our present-day EMR systems are centralized and thus vulnerable to attacks by hackers. These would potentially expose and compromise sensitive patient data.
For all the reasons and problems, it is an overall consensus that medical record management needs updating and improvement.
The situation, as described above, prompted MediChain to launch their platform. It is based on blockchain technology. They deemed it the most reliable tool for storing and transferring sensitive data. Namely, the platform relies on keeping medical records off-chain (in a secure cloud). At the same time, the use of blockchains provides their security and transparency. That way, MediChain aims to introduce a more effective and simple means of transferring medical data.
Perhaps most importantly, the new method allows patients to control their data. Now they will be able to share their most sensitive information with whomever they wish or need to. In addition, users can even sell their medical data for the purpose of pharmaceutical research and studies. The transparency of this new technology will mean the same level of data control as in the case of cryptocurrencies.
In the MediChain system, the blockchain represents a storage index. It holds the hash which authenticates the medical records stored off-chain. All data added to the secure cloud coincide with the patient’s opportunity to add a “pointer” (a reference) to the Ethereum-based blockchain. So, in this ecosystem, the blockchain would record and index medical data, instead of payments.
Furthermore, the patient (using their smartcard) or their doctor, upon their approval, could log on the blockchain and thus take part in the off-chain record. That way, the storage system used by a specific medical institution would not be potentially incompatible with other systems. It goes without saying that resolving such issues would save much valuable time and resources.
The MediChain Utility Tokens (MCU) correspond to the patients’ data blocks value. They comply with the ERC20 standard and are transferable to any third-party ETH wallet.
Users can purchase the MCU token online during the presale which has begun in early February and will last through February 19. The main ICO will take place from March 1 until May 1, 2018. As of now, 1 MCU token is worth $1. The minimum purchase during the presale is 1000 tokens. During the ICO, this number will decrease to 10 MCU tokens.
Token holders within the MediChain platform will benefit in several ways. Namely, they are eligible to use them to buy a wide range of medical data services. Also, they can use their tokens for research program voting, i.e. influencing future research activities. In addition, token holders will receive discounts concerning numerous digital services and products.
The token also serves the purpose of medical services, such as prescriptions and consultations. Finally, users will be able to sell their data for pharmaceutical research in exchange for the MCU.
MediChain is not the only platform proposing to resolve the issue of Electronic Medical Records by using blockchain technology. Still, their implementation of big data-related approaches to the EMR issue is certainly a way towards a cohesive system.