Blockchain Health Records – Fast Access Plays A Vital Role In Treatment

Blockchain, Education, Regulation | November 20, 2018 By:
If I were to ask you what is some of the most important personal information that you have, what would you say? Right at the top of this list, or at least close to the top, is likely your health records. You simply cannot get the best health care without the best health data available to your doctors.
This really hit home for me when the family member of a close friend, at 49 years old, went to his family physician complaining that he was losing weight. The doctor congratulated him and said to “keep doing what he was doing.” Four months later, he returned, now complaining of night sweats and continued weight loss. His family physician said to him again that losing weight is a good thing.
At this point, he decided to seek a second opinion and requested that his medical records be sent to another family physician’s office; however, the new physician had a three-month waiting list. The record was sent to the new physician’s office, but it had the last twelve months of records missing. It then took over four weeks to identify and fix this error. The new physician then finally reviewed the record and immediately called him in for a consultation, referring him to diagnostic testing – late-stage cancer was suspected based on his weight loss and night sweats. Diagnostic tests confirmed that he had metastatic cancer; he passed away within two months. Because the cancer diagnosis was at such a late stage, no effective treatments were possible.
Health Information – Vital and Fragmented
Even if our official health records are stored or transmitted properly, we cannot typically access or use them ourselves.
In Canada where I live, we are lucky enough to have healthcare for everyone, but there are some serious gaps when it comes to how our information is stored, and how this limits our ability to take full advantage of this benefit and be as healthy as possible.
I spent many years working in healthcare, and have seen first-hand how disjointed many of these systems are. There are provincial, federal and private record-keeping systems that do not work well together, and there is simply no way with legacy technology to combine these information banks effectively. Even province-to-province, healthcare systems often do not work together and this leaves serious gaps in a person’s medical history that can have a massive impact on the treatment that they receive.
I decided that I was going to solve this problem after meeting who would become my future co-founder during the completion of a Masters of Health Administration degree. Soon after, we set up shop in Ontario, Canada – a hub for life sciences and R&D, and worked closely with colleagues from the University of Cambridge.
Our Vision: Patient-Centric, Patient-Owned Health Data
This vision isn’t just some kind of dashboard with your health metrics – tools like FitBit already provide health metrics, but that kind of information is static and doesn’t provide a longitudinal view of your health. Without the full picture, it’s not possible to make the very best decisions for your health.
For example – suppose you are hypertensive. In order to determine this from the point of view of the medical system, you need three consecutive readings in a row that show hypertensive test results – and a care pathway is developed around that. However – with the silos that currently exist in the system, it can be difficult to demonstrate the three consecutive readings if the information is not shared or accessible across all systems. This is a big problem – because you are then needlessly waiting for care that you need, which can be damaging.
Looking Forward
My team and I have successfully raised capital and have clients and partners that are excited to sign on. We believe that health data should be owned by individuals and be stored and managed in a way that allows both patients and health professionals to get the best results possible. After all, their life may depend on it.