MediBloc: Overdue Disruption of the Healthcare Records System

Person holding a tablet device and accessing his own patient care records through the use of MediBloc platform.
Person holding a tablet device and accessing his own patient care records through the use of MediBloc platform.

MediBloc is a healthcare company in Seoul created to give individuals “sovereignty” over their own patient care records. It uses their data and health care information at their discretion to meet their own needs. The technology is a high-performance blockchain-based digital data ecosystem that is decentralized, tamperproof, and optimized for health data exchange.

MediBloc’s platform components include the blockchain data core. It also has a server to share information with authorized users, a mobile app for full access to permissioned information, and a token to drive a reward system for participants.

A Long-Needed Healthcare Information System Overhaul

In advanced medical and healthcare systems worldwide, the “ownership” of a patient’s medical and other health-related records has generated controversy for decades. An efficient, accurate record of a patient’s health information, of course, is the foundation of effective services by doctors and other healthcare professionals, hospitals, nursing homes and specialized facilities, pharmacies, and third-party payers—among others. The record must be updated and retained throughout the entire course of a patient’s lifetime.

Dissatisfaction with Healthcare Information Systems

The chief cause of the problems is that most medical offices and medical institutions take responsibility for maintaining their own records of their patients and viewing these records as in some sense proprietary. Another issue is that sharing data raises issues about the confidentiality of patient information.

The problems are highlighted by looking at problems that the healthcare information system may present for individuals with developmental disabilities:

  • They see many doctors and take many medications so that accurate, up-to-date medical histories can make the work of each doctor more effective and efficient—if a complete patient record can be obtained.
  • Some patients with developmental disabilities may have difficulty remembering and communicating their treatments and medications. This is a problem that quick access to a good medical history can address.
  • A complete record of signs and symptoms recorded from other visits is the basis for diagnosing patient problems that are new versus those that are not.
  • In an emergency, of course, all these concerns become more pressing.

A solution proposed repeatedly and long-advocated has been that the patient’s medical record should travel with the patient. The barriers to that have been the decentralized data about the patient that diverse practitioners and institutions collect and maintain, the lack of interoperability of these records, the practical issue of patients in all conditions safely carrying their records with them, and certain regulations on who can access information.

The MediBloc blockchain-based innovation has the potential to achieve a genuine paradigm shift from institution-to-institution health information exchange (HIE), with its costs both in maintaining highly duplicative databases and in the inefficiencies discussed, to community-wide, patient-centered healthcare information systems. Both patients and healthcare institutions could be beneficiaries of such a paradigm shift. With institutional partners of MediBloc realizing long-term cost-savings. 

Blockchain Technology: Born to Tackle This Problem

MediBloc brings blockchain technology to bear on these and other problems that specifically demand entry of patient information into a single, permanent, shared, secure, as well as accessible database serving an ecosystem of all involved participants. The protocol layer is Cosmos Ecosystem.

MediBloc accomplishes this with a three-layered patient-centered health data platform based on the blockchain Panacea. It focuses on connecting fragmented health data. Panacea blockchain uses a Delegated Proof of Stake consensus mechanism. The votes of network participants decide the validators – those who produce blocks. New blocks are efficiently and speedily produced and synchronized. Validators who successfully fill their roles receive rewards with MED coins as an incentive.

What is it About?

  1. The MediBloc core is a blockchain that is scalable as the system grows.
  2. MediBloc service uses Smart Contact code to create standard agreements when two or more parties share information.
  3. The MediBloc app on mobile devices carried by patients, practitioners, representatives of partner companies, as well as others in the ecosystem enables individuals in any location, at any time, to access and deal with the information that their role requires.

The vision is that patients will finally have full control of their medical data and immediate access to it. Doctors and other practitioners will now have the information needed to optimize care that is personal to each patient’s history.

MediBloc’s Aim for Transparency

Blockchain technology was a natural choice for maintaining the high level of transparency that MediBloc required. Writing, reading, accessing medical information, and every other activity—including a record of where, when, and why data was used—will be permanently recorded on the MediBloc immutable ledger. With the transfer of authority and management of the patient record to the patient, instances of inappropriate use of healthcare information should be reduced.

Participants have one of three different MediBloc accounts: general user (patients), health care practitioner, or data analyst. The system authenticates these credentials that carry different levels of access and permissions.

A significant benefit and wider appeal of MediBloc shows that individuals and institutions that conduct research (for example, controlled trials of new drugs) use the platform to negotiate with patients for use of their information. This, of course, has become another issue that the existing patient-records system raised.

Analysis of data is a constant need of the industry in assessing and evaluating overall progress, maintaining statistical data on diseases, and conducting research on new treatments, new drugs, and new technology. The required data is often difficult to access because of privacy laws to protect patient confidentiality. If patients through MediBloc acquire full rights to their data, they can be part of the solution to this problem. This will give them permission to share health care data as they see fit. MediBloc has introduced a cryptocurrency, the MED token, to incentivize patients to consider requests for their data from MediBloc partners.

A concept of using blockchain technology in patients' medical data - a doctor's equipment scattered on a table.

Technical Components

The Dr. Palette Cloud EHR

Individual and institutional providers in the MediBloc ecosystem will be able to use MediBloc’s second-generation Dr. Palette. It is one of the many electronic health records (EHR) systems that medical institutions can use to create and provide health data in MediBloc. Doctors are free to choose which functions to add to the application according to the needs of their hospital. 

EHR (or EMR) software helps healthcare providers manage patient medical records and workflows. Health care professionals can customize the systems in many ways for applications. This can include taking notes during a patient visit and providing information to comply with government requirements.

Medipass

Medipass solved the problem of a patient carrying his or her own medical records on visits to doctors and hospitals, which once loomed largely. The mobile app integrates healthcare data from diverse hospitals and other sources. This gives patients a comprehensive medical record that they can access for anything. This can include accurately recalling medications and allergies to filing a health insurance claim.

MainNet

MediBloc has more than 20 partners among domestic and international medical enterprises, including hospitals, medical centers, and insurance companies. The role of the partnerships is to help to integrate the ecosystem by becoming “nodes” that ensure the decentralization of the blockchain. MainNet mediates the partners’ use of the platform. 

Healthcare companies, medical institutions, and other partners (nodes) cooperating with MediBloc can become elected validators of blocks (as can regular members and professional members), who receive MED tokens as rewards for performing their duties successfully.

The MED Token

The MediBloc platform uses two tokens, MED and MEDX, for various purposes and activities. Patients can transfer or trade the MED tokens. Based on their contributions, participants can earn MED points or purchase them with MED tokens. There is a MediBloc wallet for handling the MED. The token standard is ERC20. MediBloc, for example, uses MED tokens to enable patients to make money from their medical information, selling it to medical researchers. Patients retain their right to decide how and with whom to share the information.

Patients can track the token can on GeckoCoin, CoinMarketCap, and Xangle. It currently trades at about $0.042.

Blockchain Meets the Perfect Challenge

It is difficult to challenge the claim that the patient has a right to his or her own healthcare data and record even if it was collected by others. After all, those who collected it were providing services for which the patient, directly or indirectly, paid. Putting the record under the patient’s control is not guaranteed to solve all imperfections of the current system, of course. A not-insignificant number of patients (children, some mental patients, demented patients) are unable to take responsibility for their own records. But their healthcare providers can still enter the patient’s information into MediBloc so that they and others can access it.

The blockchain solution to the long-standing vexations of fragmented, decentralized, often-inaccessible patient healthcare records seems likely to be a disruption of the current system that will have a powerful appeal. The strengths of blockchain seem an almost perfect “fit” for the problems of a patient records system that evolved in millions of offices and hospitals. It is a use case that has grown increasingly vast and essential. However, it has long been unable to take the next step.