The storage of Electronic Health Records (EHR) in the United Arab Emirates could soon be revolutionized after the development and implementation of storing patient records on a blockchain.
A partnership between UAE Telecom du, a telecom and broadband provider and NMC Healthcare, a major private healthcare provider in the region will be the first to introduce blockchain technology into the management of patient information within the UAE, according to a report by regional tech publication ITP.
Some of the core characteristics of blockchain technology, including data integrity and immutability, trust and security have long been touted as the next significant disruptor in the healthcare industry. Other efforts of a blockchain-based healthcare network have already started to take shape.
Blockchain Enables Immediate Access to Patient Records
The healthcare provider will be able to securely record and store medical health records on a blockchain, ultimately leading to more efficient interactions with patients with the seamless retrieval of records. Further, the simple feature of digitizing health records from paper that can then be shared among other hospitals over a blockchain could prove critical in situations where time and patient care is of the essence.
Dr. B.R. Shetty, founder and CEO of NMC Healthcare stated:
We believe the results of this initiative shall improve our patients’ data management processes, reduce administrative costs and also help us in serving our patients in a further effective manner with accurate information for better diagnosis and treatment.
A majority of patient records including blood test reports and x-rays remain on paper, according to Carlos Domingo, chief innovation officer at telecom giant du. The lack of shared access to patient records could result in unwelcome delays for providing healthcare at other hospitals. The solution, is the error-free domain of a distributed ledger platform, according to the executive.
Seamless, secure access to patient records across hospitals could soon be a reality.
By digitizing all health records, and putting them in Blockchain technology, data can be shared and distributed across all hospitals. We are looking at fully digitizing the health system with Blockchain technology to assure data integrity with zero error and guarantee end to end accountability of the patients’ records.
The UAE is quickly proving to be a hotbed for blockchain development and implementation, across a number of industries. Blockchain solutions have been sought in the precious stones industry to curb conflict diamonds’ trade, e-Voting among participants of Abu Dhabi’s securities exchange and a multi-layer rewards program.
The most obvious example of endeavoring to implement blockchain technology in the region is the Dubai Government’s initiative to see all of its documents on a blockchain by the year 2020/
The Blockchain Provider
The blockchain technology to be used in the healthcare initiative will be provided by Guardtime, a working collective of scientists, network architects, software developers and security specialists who are growing in significance in the blockchain industry.
One of Guardtime’s notable tasks includes developing a blockchain-based cybersecurity solution for the UK’s critical infrastructure, that includes the likes of nuclear plants, the electricity grid and flood defense systems.
The blockchain-based security provider also jointly won a $1.8 million contract from DARPA to develop a blockchain-based monitoring system.