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Taiwanees Hospital Launches Healthcare Blockchain Platform - ICT&health

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Taiwanees Hospital Launches Healthcare Blockchain Platform

Electronic Medical Record system developed in the Taipei Medical University Hospital uses blockchain to address “common pain points” in healthcare.

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The “Healthcare Blockchain Platform” was created to make medical data accessible for the patients, improve patient referral services and enable data transfer between medical institutions. Patients – after logging in to a password-protected mobile app – can view a complete set of medical data: high-resolution medical images, lab results, clinical and health exam information.

Hospital superintendent Chen Ray-jade said Taipei Times that “blockchain technology not only helps to combine electronic medical records with electronic health records from multiple hospitals and clinics, it also incorporates the additional security feature of notification and consent before any transfer takes place”. He also emphasized that “thanks to decentralized nature of blockchain, technology minimalizes the risk of security breaches”.

Blockchain technology helps to combine data from electronic health records from multiple hospitals and clinics

More than 100 community-based clinics collaborated on the project which is to support government’s Hierarchical Medical system policy. Using smart contracts, hospitals and clinics can request and authorize patient record sharing easily and securely, the hospital announced in a statement.

The first country to use blockchain for healthcare on a national scale is Estonia. The technology protects 1.3 million electronic medical patient records and e-prescriptions already since 2016.

According to the IDC Health Insights report, by 2020, 20% of healthcare organizations will be using blockchain for operations management and patient identity. While interoperability and HIE frameworks evolve to address a range of challenges in health IT, blockchain could deliver an alternative for where these technologies may fall short.

What is blockchain?

Blockchain technology is used to store and send information about online transactions, which is recorded in the form of consecutive data blocks. One block contains information about a specific number of transactions. Once it is filled up, another block is created, and so on and so forth, thus resulting in a chain being formed. The whole methodology is based on a peer-to-peer network rather than on a central server where every transaction would otherwise be carried out or recorded (central database or server). Every computer in the network may participate in any transactions that are public. However, a single user may only view their own transactions (in healthcare: own medical record) within specific access rights. With the current level of technological advancement, no one is able to falsify or modify the historical data, while complicated cryptographic tools protect the transmitted data blocks against unauthorized access.

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