There’s a natural tension between information sharing and privacy. Providing reliable health care requires having all relevant information available, but people don’t want just anyone knowing what conditions they have and what medications they’re taking. Nor are they thrilled with having a central authority manage everything. They want information to be reliable, available, and under their control. Startup companies are looking at technological solutions to this problem.

Secure information sharing

Cyph MD offers a novel approach to the problem, using the distributed trust of the blockchain. Its creator is Brontech, a startup in Sydney, Australia. Brontech adapted the Ethereum platform for “smart contracts” for health information. Ethereum’s design allows people who don’t know each other to establish an identity and authorize a sequence of actions.

A contract is basically an “if-then” requirement that two or more parties accept. The concept has many applications beyond business agreements. Software developers use “design by contract” to avoid defects resulting from unexpected conditions. In the healthcare realm, people who hold information contract with those who need information to release it only when properly authorized. The patient ought to be able to authorize releasing information, or to designate others who can release it.

Identity is a key concept, since healthcare information is always tied to an individual. Most of us take for granted that we can establish our identities, but many people, especially those displaced by war and violence, can’t do it easily. All of us want safety from impersonation and identity theft. Co-founder Emma Poposka says, “We are trying to build a digital identity that’s like bulletproof, and that can be used by everybody, even by people who don’t necessarily have legal identities in their countries.”

CyphBrontech is an Australian startup that builds Dapps on top of the Ethereum Blockchain. Brontech is also the creator of   Cyph, and encrypted messenger app. MD manages identity with hierarchical certificates. A hospital can issue identity tokensAsset-backed tokens are claims on an underlying asset, from a specific issuer. to all participating practitioners. How patients with minimal access to technology will establish their identity remains an open question, which BrontechThe main focus of Cyph is to create and maintain secure digital identities for healthcare providers sharing private information with their clients and patients hopefully will address soon. Perhaps biometrics will offer a solution.

Gaining adoption

The regulatory situation could pose problems for any blockchain-based management of health information. Many countries have strict regulations, such as HIPAA in the United States, of storage and transmission of personal health information. The blockchainA private key is a string of data that shows you have access to cryptocurrency in a specific wallet. Private keys enable a user to spend from the wallet through a cryptographic signature. approach is fundamentally different from the usual model of a central server which is carefully protected. Anyone can see the blockchainA private key is a string of data that shows you have access to cryptocurrency in a specific wallet. Private keys enable a user to spend from the wallet through a cryptographic signature., but no single party is responsible for it, and its protection rests on the strength of its cryptography.

Medical organizations are conservative about protecting patient information. Before they’ll adopt a new way of storing and conveying it, they’ll want a high level of confidence that it won’t leak information, either because of flaws in the technology or mistakes in using it.

Since its usefulness depends on sharing, multiple organizations have to adopt CyphBrontech is an Australian startup that builds Dapps on top of the Ethereum Blockchain. Brontech is also the creator of   Cyph, and encrypted messenger app. MD before it offers much value. So far BrontechThe main focus of Cyph is to create and maintain secure digital identities for healthcare providers sharing private information with their clients and patients isn’t saying much about its customers. It will need to get at least one major institution, or a significant number of smaller ones, to adopt the technology before there’s a viable ecosystem.

Accolades

In CIO Magazine, Peter B. Nichol calls Brontech one of “the top three blockchain-based companies to watch in 2017.” Cyph MD was the “People’s Choice Winner” in the Westpac Innovation Challenge for ways to improve productivity in Australian healthcare.

Brontech also publishes Owlee, for identity management. It uses the same blockchainA private key is a string of data that shows you have access to cryptocurrency in a specific wallet. Private keys enable a user to spend from the wallet through a cryptographic signature. technology as CyphBrontech is an Australian startup that builds Dapps on top of the Ethereum Blockchain. Brontech is also the creator of   Cyph, and encrypted messenger app. MD. Owlee offers peerPeer-to-peer (P2P) refers to the decentralized interactions that happen between two or more parties parties in a interconnected network. P2P participants deal directly with each other. verification and authentication of credentials and references.

Revolutionizing how institutions share healthcare information and how patients control it is an ambitious goal for a startup company. Success would mean fewer mistakes in treatment, faster access to information, better privacy, and continuity for people experiencing major life changes.

Contact us to stay updated on the latest developments on healthcare blockchainA private key is a string of data that shows you have access to cryptocurrency in a specific wallet. Private keys enable a user to spend from the wallet through a cryptographic signature. technology.

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