To seek diagnoses and treatment, patients have to share with healthcare institutions detailed information, including biological samples from blood tests, scans and other assessments as determined relevant by clinical staff.
A patient’s medical history should be a comprehensive collection of such information, kept up-to-date on records secured and accessible to individual patients and their healthcare providers as needed.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen a rising number of fatal and near-fatal medical errors, even in the developed world, because of spotty or incomplete medical records.
Many such incidents relate to preventable adverse drug interactions and surgical complications in the United States, the United Kingdom, and indeed around the world. Statistics vary widely on the number of deaths (ranging from up to 43 million globally according to a Harvard Medical School study), but they are far too many.
Putting digitized medical data on the blockchain could offer a solution to this problem. Specifically, allowing people to safely store and share medical data on the blockchain could help save millions of lives.
In developing countries, inadequate biobanking – the banking of blood, tissue and organ donations – have led to high mortality rates because of inadequate information.
Blood banks in particular often can’t identify demand in a specific geographic area. Imagine if medical clinics were able to broadcast their current supply and demand for blood. Blood banks could be more effective if they were able to predict how much blood people will need. They could share and verify the quality of samples received and exchange information with other clinics.
Such an information service could enable clinics to pool resources and stock adequate supply of clean blood for the needed blood types.
For a lengthier explanation of the economic and technical issues facing blockchain biotech projects, please review the World Economic Forum Agenda article from December 2018.