Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Taipei hospital adopts blockchain for health records

Steve Rogerson
November 21, 2017

Taipei Medical University Hospital and Digital Treasury Corporation (DTCO) have jointly unveiled a blockchain-based personal healthcare record operating system (PHROs).
The aim is to enable the rise of a patient-centric healthcare system, where individuals can carry their own medical information digitally. This would not only secure the data from external hacking threats but also enable seamless cross-hospital treatment and hassle-free online insurance claims by individuals, without having to face the complicated procedures of applying for personal medical records.
Taiwan-based asset management company Fubon Financial Holding is actively involved in sponsoring the platform and exploring the benefits of blockchain-based smart insurance claims.
The system was unveiled at last month’s Healthcare Blockchain Forum in Taipei, which was attended by luminaries from the medical and scientific community. Minister Chen Shizhong of the Ministry of Health & Welfare, President Lin Jianhuang of Taipei Medical University and legislator Yu Wanru were some of the dignitaries who witnessed the creation of the medical blockchain alliance.
DTCO CEO Jacob Lee opened his speech by emphasising the benefits of blockchain applications in the healthcare sector and introduced the basic functions of the account, such as opening a PHROs account for an individual, health records and intelligent insurance claims. Same Lo, chief information officer of Taipei Medical University, also shared PHROs utilities, such as health check reports, IoT of wearable devices and filing medical insurance claims.
Lee emphasised the underlying blockchain technology, the integrated identity authentication, online authorisation, distributed storage technology, Ethereum permissioned blockchain and other technology developments that this platform brings to the fore.
Hospitals can either open a PHROs account for newly registered patients or open a new PHROs account for their existing patients, following which they can gradually export health check reports and medical information to these accounts to enable the individual to keep and accumulate their own medical information.
In future, the individual will be able to authorise the data by circulating them within their trust list, which includes other doctors, healthcare providers and insurance providers, for automated insurance claims. They can even link personal lifestyle information, environmental information and so on to form a cohesive personal healthcare record.
Ray Chen, superintendent of the Taipei Medical University Hospital, said precision medicine was based on the circulation and accuracy of information. The current medical information of patients is kept by medical institutions so when it comes to exchange of medical data of patients a lot of factors influence the process, which include security, privacy and interoperability of different systems. The blockchain technology can significantly reduce the operational issues and enhance the transfer of personal medical data between cross-industrial platforms.
Chen emphasised that the healthcare blockchain alliance was imperative for keeping up with the trends in digital medicine. In the future, the alliance aims to follows the government's policy to promote, formulate and standardise the medical data transfer protocols. Along with it, the alliance plans to work together for developing data driven medical novel applications and seek ways to enhance the health and well-being of the general public. At the same time, it will actively encourage embracing digital medical record keeping, internationally.
Fubon Financial Holdings is partnering DTCO in developing blockchain-based methods, so the underlying process of filing of medical claims and claims handling procedures becomes smoother. In the past, people would have to apply for medical insurance claims by filling out the application form and collecting paper documents supporting the claim. This will soon become part of history as blockchain can be used to achieve automated filing of insurance claims and an automated review procedure.
The automated process could significantly reduce the time and cost of review process along with elimination of fraud cases. Fubon Financial Holdings has joined the alliance to work together to standardise the process and create a benchmark for future reference.
Blockchain technology, which is based on the encryption of algorithms and a decentralised accounting model, is the key for innovations in the financial sector. It can be used in the medical industry to transmit and store medical records safely and fast.
Lee said the world was beginning to realise the applications of blockchain in the healthcare sector.
“In the past,” he said, “the medical profession in Taiwan has made considerable achievements in electronic medical records. It has taken the lead in the area of blockchain and can lead the development of a white paper on the global medical blockchain standard.”
Because of the open-source nature of blockchain, it is possible to speed up the IoT of medical equipment and medical systems by establishing a blockchain alliance to leverage digital medical innovations, including big data and artificial intelligence.
DTCO also demonstrated the PHROs Super Node for large hospitals, the Light Node for clinics and mini-nodes for wearables. Based on its capabilities and needs, the healthcare system can be connected to the PHROs blockchain network and set up a people-centric personalised medical service with accurate, timely and secure healthcare.
DTCO was founded in 2014. The corporate management team consists of international blockchain scientists along with professionals from the fields of finance, ICT and biopharma industries. It serves as a bridge between business and blockchain for wide range of applications including biopharma, healthcare, e-identity and crypto finance.