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Developing electronic medical records systems with Blockchain integration

dianamaltseva8 profile image Diana Maltseva ・3 min read

Facing massive documents flows, companies have to accurately keep all their records. However, it’s not everything that they should do to continue effectively functioning.

In today’s world of the Internet and technology, there is a strong need for electronic document management system, that can enable efficient maintenance of documentation, automatic information updates, limited and shared access to data, information exchange between different companies with no information losses and with the support of all data formats.

It is especially important in organizations where a piece of inaccurate information may cost a lot. So, there primarily insurance companies, banks, government entities, and healthcare organizations, that should think about an electronic document management system implementation.

And data security is essential here, as a document, sign, or any other information must be impossible to forge, and data exchange must be safe. Hence, to achieve high security there must be used innovative tools and technologies created for this exact goal.

Here I'll describe a Blockchain technology-based project, used to build an electronic medical records system for a healthcare organization.

Speaking about the notion of current electronic document management we can define it as an isolated network of different systems with different data formats, which especially concerns medical systems. Unfortunately, most solutions for electronic document management work well only within a single organization or a network of institutions.

However, when it comes to data exchange between various stakeholders (hospitals, insurance companies, patients, private practices), there appear a lot of problems such as compatibility of data formats, keeping the history of changes in the patient’s card, and validating the integrity of patient data.

Organizations can have their own records systems and databases for keeping patients’ cards and health information, which significantly complicates the communication between them. Today there implemented a variety of standards for medical data exchange called Health Level 7.

However, even with this set of standards systems must maintain their own patient databases and there is no any guarantee that each organization has up-to-date information.

Our task was to create a demo version of patient’s electronic medical records system providing the ability to safely and transparently make changes from an unlimited number of sources that can be geographically distributed.

Each system participant must have a latest data version, so the system must be decentralized and at the same time there must be confidence in the validity of each transaction.

The system must meet the following requirements:

  • Distribution;
  • Lack of a single failure point;
  • Ability to make changes in patient’s card by several participants (medical data, paid bills, insurance information);
  • Automatic confirmation of each new change in a patient record by several - participants in the system;
  • Maintaining of a permanent history of changes in patient’s card;
  • Transparent data exchange between organizations.

Another important requirement was to ensure the ability to easily connect third-party systems so that each organization can work in their current systems, having access to up-to-date patient information.

That is our system must be based on a distributed database, providing access to all involved organizations.

As data security is one of the prior issues there, we also needed to ensure the protection of databases from unauthorized access, verification and confirmation of each transaction, without having central regulatory authorities and a central database “master” copy (decentralization).

After a huge success of Bitcoin, Blockchain started applying in different spheres connected not only with money. One of such examples is BigchainDB, a distributed database management system (DBMS) on the base of Blockchain. We chose it as the database for our system.

BigchainDB is a server that runs a Blockchain layer and NoSQL DBMS as a backend and data warehouse (Rethink or MongoDB). One such server is called node which is a Blockchain cluster participant.

Learn, how to effectively develop this Blockchain-based project according to all the requirements.
 

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alex_escalante profile image
Alex Escalante

Such an interesting use of this technology! :)