Taipei Medical University Hospital on Thursday launched a healthcare platform using blockchain technology to improve patient referral services and integrate individual healthcare networks so that people have easier access to their medical records.
The Healthcare Blockchain Platform was developed as a one-stop referral and long-term care service in support of the government’s Hierarchical Medical System policy, the hospital said in a statement.
More than 100 community-based clinics collaborated on the project, which uses blockchain technology to address “common pain points” in healthcare, including the physician referral process, transfer of data between medical institutions and personal patient portals, the hospital said.
On the platform, people “have a complete set of all their medical records, including high-resolution medical images, lab results, and clinical and health exam information,” it said.
“Using smart contracts, hospitals and clinics can request and authorize patient record sharing easily and securely,” it said.
Department of Preventive and Community Medicine head Chang Shy-shin (張詩鑫) said that currently, nurses at referral counters assist people seeking referrals.
The platform allows people to log in to a password-protected mobile app to make such requests, Chang said.
A blockchain is a list of records, called blocks, that are linked using cryptography.
Hospital superintendent Chen Ray-jade (陳瑞杰) said 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 technology would minimize the risk of security breaches, thanks to the decentralized nature of blockchains, Chen said.
Moreover, people will no longer have to go through a tedious process for inter-hospital transfers, he said.
Physician Wang Yao-ting (王曜庭) at Zhuang Jing Clinic, a community-based healthcare provider in Taipei, said that the platform would be a great improvement.
With access to all the medical and health data of a referred patient through blockchains, doctors can gain a better understanding of their general health, Wang said.
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