A hospital in the Taiwan capital of Taipei has developed a blockchain powered platform for record keeping, in-line with the government’s latest healthcare policy.
The new Taipei Medical University Hospital’s “Healthcare Blockchain Platform” will support the Taiwanese government’s drive to improve patient referral services and to enable healthcare networks to facilitate patients accessing their records through a mobile app.
Taiwan’s capital had already announced its desire to become a “smart city” earlier this year. It is planning to integrate blockchain to provide pollution sensors and health history tracking to its population. In February, the governor of Taiwan’s central bank, Yang Chin-long, stated that it was also exploring blockchain.
The new project at the Taipei Medical University Hospital involved over 100 clinics which have been using blockchain to improve the transfer of information to patients. The platform will further enhance current systems by enabling patients easy access to their complete medical history, including images. Likewise, hospitals and medical centers will be able to access these same records using smart contracts.
Hospital superintendent Chen Ray-jade sees security as another aspect which can be much improved using the blockchain app, suggesting 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.”
The medical profession has taken to blockchain very quickly, recognizing that such data sharing and record keeping facilities offered by new technology are a huge improvement on many of the outmoded paper-driven and digital systems employed in hospitals today.
In Germany, for example, the use of blockchain in national healthcare has been much discussed over the past few years. Dr. Christina Czeschik, physician and specialist in medical informatics, suggests that the current system of electronic health records (EHR) has many disadvantages that blockchain could bypass, such as those centering around economy, risk, and trustworthiness.
She argues that argues that there are “few other industries in which so many different viewpoints and agendas need to be reconciled to achieve a common goal” – which, in this case, is good patient care.
In the US, Mount Sinai Hospital’s New York-based medical school has established a blockchain research center to explore its medical use case applications. The Center for Biomedical Blockchain Research is set to be part of the hospital’s Institute for Next Generation Healthcare. The institute currently hosts 50 specialist researchers studying progressive healthcare solutions, including the application of robotics, artificial intelligence, wearable medical devices, sensors, and genomic sequencing.
With the US reportedly spending near to 20% of its GDP on healthcare, blockchain technology might be called upon sooner than later to streamline and improve services in the industry.
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