Blockchain can save lives
Soon emergency doctors will be able to instantly identify patients and call up their health records
I’VE said this before, and I’m saying it again: blockchain and bitcoin are not the same thing. Bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency, while blockchain is a revolutionary way to securely store valuable information.
Cryptocurrencies have gained a lot of negative publicity recently, due in large part to their wildly volatile prices, but also due to reports of cryptocurrency theft to the value of over $1billion (R14bn) in 2018.
This is particularly alarming for a currency that was touted as being blockchain-based, and hence supersecure. I have nothing against cryptocurrencies; I believe they are great in theory, even though they do have some unresolved issues. But in time, they might evolve to a point where theory becomes a practical reality.
The danger of lumping cryptocurrencies and blockchain together as if they are the same thing, is that when crypto takes a beating, so does blockchain, and people will fail to see its incredible potential as a stand-alone technology. Blockchain technology is also in its infancy, but it has already shown tremendous potential in a number of industries.
In my previous article, I described the blockchain-based concept app National Vehicle Ledger, or NAVEL, that can transform the motor vehicle industry by removing the element of chance when buying a used vehicle.
Although NAVEL doesn’t yet exist, there are a number of applications where blockchain is already providing solutions to age-old problems, such as in the healthcare industry.
As an example, let’s say there’s been a serious car crash, and the driver is unconscious. He is in a serious condition and needs urgent attention; but to administer any first aid, paramedics need vital health information such as his blood type, allergies and any other information that might help them to stabilise him. They do not have that information on the scene; even identifying the victim is a challenge.
At the hospital, doctors face the same challenge because his vital information lies in a myriad databases belonging to various doctors and hospitals. This is an all too familiar scenario, and the delays could easily lead to death,.
Fortunately, there is a solution on the horizon. Soon, doctors and EMR teams will be able to instantly identify patients and call up all their vital information. All they will have to do is to scan the patient’s retina or fingerprints and immediately get access to personal details, next of kin, and most importantly, vital medical records. With information like this at their fingertips, they will be able to save many more lives.
The technology to create this solution is out there, but the real challenge is the scattered data. Blockchain technology can solve this problem by consolidating the data into one highly secure place, making it easily accessible to authorised people.
A start-up called Simply Vital Health has already implemented a solution called Health Nexus that provides blockchain-based, decentralised patient records. This is a step in the right direction, and it will only be a matter of time before this concept gains traction.
Blockchain, like most technologies, just needs time to evolve to its full potential.
BLOCKCHAIN-based apps can transform the motor vehicle industry by removing the element of chance when buying a used vehicle. They can also transform the health industry and others, says the writer. |