There has been a longstanding lack of transparency in the health care sector among the parties involved. Patients do not have immediate access to health records drawn up by healthcare providers. These providers, in turn, can only quickly share data within their own organisation or with others via the same system and have limited access to the systems of other providers. One thing is certain: because of this lack of transparency, the patient is not aware of the current use (or misuse?) of his or her data, let alone that he or she has any influence on the authorisations granted within these systems. Blockchain techology makes this possible.
Mission: to improve care by putting the patient at the heart of the digital transformation.
Blockchain technology makes it easy, in my view, to build a decentralised platform that enables the secure, rapid and transparent exchange of medical data. For example, we use this decentralized technology to record the authenticity of patient data stored in existing care systems in a private (permissioned) blockchain (e.g. hyperledger). This offers great advantages. We register the link in the blockchain and anyone with (patient’s) consent can follow this link and get the necessary information from the care provider’s system. An appropriate encryption method (cryptographic hash) ensures that the information remains authentic, so that no variants of the truth arise. In this way, we keep a single version of the patient’s actual data, so that everyone can be confident that the information shown is true.
But we go one step further… Care providers are currently working in their own systems. These systems are closed, institution-oriented, slow and non-interoperable. Despite the fact that the National Switching Point (LSP) has been in existence for more than ten years, the exchange of information still takes place at a limited extent. Collaboration between different parties is difficult to achieve due to the dominant position of (a limited number of) software suppliers. With blockchain technology, we are able to record patient information in the blockchain, make the patient the owner of his or her information and thus return control to the patient. The various silos are gradually being demolished. The blockchain enables healthcare providers such as physicians, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacists and insurers to request permission to access and interact with medical records. Each interaction is verifiable, traceable to its source, transparent and secure and will be recorded as a transaction in the distributed general ledger of parties. In addition, privacy is guaranteed in this process because it makes different access levels possible; patients check who can view their records, what they see and for how long.
The “patient focus” is no longer the commonplace without interpretation; blockchain in healthcare enables the patient to actually control his or her own care process. And that makes blockchain more than just technology. Transparent, verifiable, unchangeable, decentralised and for always.
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