Healthcare ITNews presents
- Connect with US
A Texas-based blockchain technology vendor has been awarded a grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop medical records that are secure, readily available, and reliable.
Factom, located in Austin, is using blockchain to create globally distributed medical records that can be accessed by any biometrically verified authorized user regardless of location.
A blockchain is a data structure that can be timed-stamped and signed using a private key as a way to prevent tampering. Developed in 2008 to track bitcoin transactions, blockchain is attracting interest as a way to track and protect financial instruments, public records, physical asset keys, and patient medical records.
“Medical records are historically documented on paper and stored by clinics. This poses a problem when people move or if the region is destabilized,” the company said in a press release announcing the grant. “Creating medical records around an individual and securing them with the Factom blockchain solves both these problems in an affordable and practical way that may provide unique benefits for the developing world.”
Blockchain technology would similarly benefit small and rural hospitals in the U.S. that struggle to electronically share secure, verifiable medical records and coordinate patient care.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) this year held a contest for healthcare technology vendors, organizations, and individuals to develop ways to use blockchain in healthcare IT and research. Fifteen winning entrants from more than 70 submissions were selected last summer by ONC.
The amount of the grant by the Gates Foundation was undisclosed.