A Decentralized Medical Database for Better Healthcare

Technology > IT

Photo by: Richard Salomon via afp.caf.mil


There are 26 electronic medical record systems (EMRs) that contain all the medical history of patients in Boston, Massachusetts. Each EMR is a system with a language of its own. This critical data is ideally shared among various facilities most of the time. However, there are times when the data isn’t accessible just when it is needed most. This particular situation in the US not only costs money but even lives, and that is why the importance of information technology comes into play.

John Halamka, Chief Information Officer at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, says that the problem appears tailor-made. For instance, when a doctor wants to check a patient or write a prescription, then the medical information can be recorded in a database that is virtually incorruptible.

With blockchain technology, medical professionals can streamline records notwithstanding where they are in the globe.

Gem, an organization that helps various companies to use blockchain technology, believes that there are rules to bake in order to achieve better healthcare. First, the system should facilitate the exchange of health information not just for providers but for patients too while observing privacy regulations.

Halamka and other researchers have already developed the MedRec, a system that uses a private blockchain to keep track of people who have permission to change or view a medical record. But either way, Gem believes that this will be of much use if clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare organizations are also willing to participate such as in the areas of helping with the fundamental concepts and the technical infrastructure that is needed to make it a reality.