(Photo courtesy of CoinTelegraph.com)
Blockchain, Bitcoin’s underlying technology, has been hailed by many as one that could be quite useful in many areas. The technology’s transformational potential on the practice of law has already been noted and now some experts are talking about the potential it has to reshape our medical experiences as well.
Matt Weiss, portfolio director and business designer at innovation and design firm IDEO Boston, explained in a recent piece published by the cryptocurrency news website Coin Desk how blockchain can transform our medical experiences for the better.
In the piece, Weiss noted that, while it may be said that technology is already being used in the diagnosis, tracking and treatment of different conditions, it is not been used at the level it should to simplify processes further. He emphasized that blockchain can be applied in several areas of health practice, from interoperable records to proof of medical adherence.
Applying Bitcoin Technology to Health Practice
Weiss used a hypothetical condition called Screenoritis to portray how Bitcoin’s technology can be useful in health practice. The condition is not really fatal, but it is accompanied by unpleasant symptoms, which include sleeplessness and short-term memory loss. Luckily, Screenoritis is treatable and reversible, although the recovery process is a bit tough.
Jane is a 34-year-old professional animator who loves her work, with this passion making her work longer than the average person. One day, she decides to go for a run by the river because the weather is inviting, but she is later found unresponsive on the ground by another runner, who dials 911.
On the arrival of an ambulance, the reporting emergency medical technicians (EMTs) scans Jane’s fitness band to retrieve her HealthChain ID, a special public identifier designated for health information. Jane had created rules on parties that are allowed to access her medical record. So the EMTs combine their ID with hers and made a broadcast on the HealthChain network, which alerts Jane’s four emergency contacts to grant access to her medical records. Access is granted by two of the contacts within 10 seconds to enable the EMTs get down to work.
After receiving treatment and regaining consciousness few hours later at the hospital, a physician explains to Jane she has just had a bout of Screenoritis and asks if she is willing to share anonymized information about her experience in the standard public research repository. She agrees to the request and is able to connect privately with other people with similar experiences as her who have agreed to also share their own information.
In the course of her research on Screenoritis, Jane is able to find out about a publicly crowdfunded bounty for the release of a treatment regimen to treat her condition’s underlying causes. A series of smart contracts controls her contributions such that conditional access to treatments is provided if they are released – essentially holding her contributions in escrow until treatment is made available to her.
Jane is placed on popular Screenoritis medications and given a daily physical routine to do by her doctor, while a watch tracks her locations and adherence to her treatment regimen to provide useful information to both her doctor and insurer. Her bills are covered automatically without paperwork, provided she sticks to her treatment plan.
The example given shows how treatment and insurance payments can be accessed using the blockchain technology without any recourse to paperwork.