MedicalChain : Blockchain Technology for Secure Storage and Transfer of Electronic Health Records

January 26, 2018

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Medicalchain is a decentralized platform that enables secure, fast and transparent exchange and usage of medical data. We introduce utilization of blockchain tech- nology to store patient health records and maintain a single version of the patient’s true data. Medicalchain will enable different healthcare agents such as doctors, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacists and insurers to request permission to access and interact with medical records. Each interaction is auditable, transparent, and secure, and will be recorded as a transaction on Medicalchain’s distributed ledger. Moreover, no privacy is lost in this process; Medicalchain is built on the permission based Hyperledger Fabric architecture which allows varying access levels; patients control who can view their records, how much they see and for what length of time.


Hyperledger Fabric is built by The Linux Foundation, in collaboration with IBM and many other enterprises. It is designed for organisations that need to meet con dential obligations to each other without passing everything through a cen- tral authority and ensuring con dentiality, scalability and security. At least seven1 well known banks have selected Hyperledger Fabric to address the challenge of managing, tracking and securing domestic and international trade transactions. Medicalchain brings this technology to provide state of the art solutions to today’s health record problems. By digitizing health records and empowering users we can leverage countless industry synergies. As an example, users could license access to their health record to pharmaceutical companies in exchange for tokens. 



Blockchain and Legacy Systems


In today’s world, users from different sectors rely on the instantaneous and seamless flow of data. Many industries have adopted, and are constantly adopting, new technologies that guarantee their users’ requirement of instant information. However, this has not been the case of the healthcare industry. Healthcare information systems have not adapted to this speed.


Legacy systems are burdensome, slow, and often times vulnerable. Healthcare information cannot be easily or securely shared with these systems. Every step along the way stakeholders have to spend time lling out forms, verifying identities and information, whilst meticulously ensuring privacy and security standards are met. Moreover, the communication and exchange of data between stakeholders is impractical and often uses different formats and standards for their data. The result is a fragmented landscape where each stakeholder keeps their own record of the same data that is slightly different from every other stakeholder. No singular version of the truth exists.


Another problem is that current electronic health record (EHR) systems use centralized databases in which medical data remains largely non- portable. Centralization increases the security risk footprint, and requires

centralized trust in a single authority. Moreover, centralized databases cannot ensure security and data integrity, regardless of de-identi cation and controlled access requirements.


The foundation of a new healthcare IT system lies in the creation of a platform that allows interoperability, safe storage of all the data collected by all healthcare agents and secure and ef cient exchange of that information between stakeholders whilst respecting the privacy of all those whose information is involved. All this can be achieved by using blockchain technology.


Blockchain technology allows for decentralized peer to peer interactions that can be recorded and veri ed without a central authority. At it’s core, blockchains are a network of peers that manage a shared database that is distributed among all of it’s participants called a distributed ledger. They use complex cryptographic algorithms to keep records of everything that happens on them and ensure the ledger is not tampered with. This makes blockchains phenomenal for processes integral to healthcare, such as auditing information and verifying identities among multiple entities.


The MedicalChain Solution


The MedicalChain proposal involves the implementation of a blockchain healthcare record as an overarching access control manager of electronic health records (EHR).


When medical data is generated, for example from a doctor’s notes or patient’s wearable device, a digital signature is created for veri cation. This data is then encrypted and sent to the encrypted cloud storage where a pointer to the health record is registered in the blockchain along with the user’s unique ID.


Similarly, when a patient’s data is requested, the ID on the blockchain is used to retrieve the data from the encrypted cloud storage. The data is decrypted and displayed on the relevant device or application. The patient will be notified every time data is added to their blockchain, or when there is a request to access the data.


Moreover, the users will be able to grant or revoke access on multiple levels of their data using their web or mobile applications. There are several different options for private keys. The private keys can be stored on behalf of the patient or it can be put on offline storage at the patient’s convenience.


Medicalchain has been meticulously designed to do this in a legally compliant way. Patient consent is recorded on the blockchain as are records of any health information that is accessed or shared. Not only can we ensure this but we can also verify that all consent, data protection and privacy laws are being complied and adhered to. 



MedicalChain as a Platform


Medicalchain will allow third party developers to develop and showcase their applications within the eco-system. There have been many scientific advances recently with regards to health applications, including diet and nutritional advice. Such applications will connect to the Medicalchain platform directly. Other examples of apps could be assessment of medications, interactivity with wearable data, fat measurement, etc.


Patients will grant access to their health record to app(s) where they can be used in exchange for MedTokens. 




Medicalchain is issuing tokens (MedTokens) to create a new blockchain based healthcare eco-system. Using MedTokens is the best and easiest way to create a global marketplace for this. Moreover, using tokens means that considerable amounts of money are not spent on payment settlement mecha- nisms and their ensuing fees in individual countries. Patients will use tokens to pay for the hosting and storage of their record on our private blockchain powered by Hyperledger Fabric. Tokens will be used to pay for Medicalchain to request and populate a user’s record for them.


Registered doctors and other healthcare professionals will be rewarded tokens to remotely review medical information and provide advice or a second opinion on a case. Pharmaceutical and other research companies will reward patients in tokens by having time limited access to their health record for research and experimental purposes.


Medicalchain’s app ecosystem will play a role in the spending and redeeming of MedTokens.Trusted users in the community will have the option to verify the identity, contact details and creden- tials of doctors that are added to our system in exchange for tokens. Patients could pay a premium to have real time information from wearable devices streamed to their Medicalchain blockchain.



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