The advent of wearable devices that measure activity has made it possible for individuals to manage their health. In the early 2000s, the operation of the Medical Information Network (EHR) began in other countries. A secure system for managing health and medical information is currently being resear […]
The advent of wearable devices that measure activity has made it possible for individuals to manage their health. In the early 2000s, the operation of the Medical Information Network (EHR) began in other countries.
A secure system for managing health and medical information is currently being researched and developed. One of them is the use of block chains.
ICT in Medical Care and its Challenges
PHR/EHR Health Information Management
The digitization of information in medical and health care has improved convenience. PHR (personal health record) is a system in which individuals use medical and health information for their own health and become the main body of health management.
While the primary purpose of PHR is personal information management, a system for analyzing medical information is also essential. The Electronic Health Record (Electronic Health Record) manages and analyzes medical and health information not only for individuals, but also at the hospital, local government, and national levels.
It is difficult to use health and medical information across the board with conventional EHRs. With the increasing use of ICT in medical care, organizations that manage health and medical information are no longer able to handle them under existing systems.
Problem solving by blockchains
The blockchain has the advantage of eliminating PHR/EHR issues. The first aspect is the management of health and medical information. The traditional ICT technology centralizes the management of personal medical data, so protecting personal information and ensuring security have been issues. The blockchain leverages P2P to manage health and medical information distributed across clients.
Decentralization trade-off with network size
The distributed management of health and medical information using P2P enables secure management such as updating and error checking throughout the network. However, health and medical information is managed using a private network, unlike virtual currency ledger management.
It is necessary to pay attention to this point when using the blockchain of health and medical information management. There is a trade-off between authentication and decentralization of network participation. As we’ll see later, a consensus algorithm called PoA (proof of authority) can be used to create a private network that only authenticated hospitals can access.
Examples of Use of Blockchains in Healthcare
The most common use of blockchains in healthcare is patient health information management. Because medical information is managed by each medical institution, consent is required to view a patient’s medical history. Medical errors can occur due to human error.
MedRec, developed by the MIT Media Lab, is a system that enables the use of health and medical information across the board. MedRec leverages the Ethereum blockchain to ensure that only authorized and authorized providers have access to their medical history. This simplifies the system for viewing health and medical information.
MedRec is a centralized management of patient health and medical information. The consensus algorithm used is PoA (Proof of Authority). While it retains a centralized aspect, only patients and doctors certified by the PoA can participate in the network.
Prevention of Counterfeit Drugs
Drugs developed by companies must be approved. While strict drug controls are in place, counterfeit drugs that do not go through the above processes are being questioned. Counterfeit medicines are said to kill tens of thousands of people a year in the United States.
FarmaTrust (FTT) is a blockchain that manages the distribution of medicines to prevent counterfeit medicines. FTT enables the tracking of distribution routes from the manufacture of pharmaceuticals through the supply chain to their delivery to consumers.
As for how the FTT works, users cast 100 utility tokens (FTT) and are given a tracking token called ZOI. This is also effective in preventing the spread of counterfeit drugs.
The FTT will be divided into the following four categories.
- Regulatory Compliance (Ensuring compliance with federally established guidelines)
- Track and Trace (inventory control)
- Supply Chain Visibility (tracking when a drug changes anywhere
- Consumer Confidence App (User access to the lifecycle of the drug)
About The MediLedger Project
The MediLedger Project is a consortium of blockchains that includes major U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturers.
The MediLedger Project is developing a protocol in collaboration with Chronicled, a blockchain based in San Francisco, USA. Although drugs are sold through wholesalers, the traditional approach is to negotiate individual pricing and contracts. The goal of the MediLeager protocol is to eliminate these inefficient processes.
In the United States, the Health Care Supply Chain Security Act will be revised on November 27, 2019, so we’ll be able to accept drug returns. The MediLedger protocol will begin testing in Q3 2019.