Security and scalability factors of data exchange have been challenging the healthcare industry for ages. Both these aspects are the key to collaborative decision making and overall outcomes. Conventional efforts for clinical data consolidation are often expensive, time-consuming and yet siloed. This leads to inefficient information exchange and hampers decision making for patient care.
This is where applying blockchain technology to clinical data sharing comes into the picture - FHIRChain!
So what is FHIRChain? It is Blockchain based architecture, designed to meet ONC guidelines for FHIR standards for exchanging clinical information. It models the complete medical journey, patient-centric yet decentralized (dAPP). While the FHIR resource provides patient records in both human and computer readable format, Blockchain ensures the single immutable record stored in encrypted fashion both “on the chain” and “off the chain”. This ensures security and passes on the ownership of data to the patients.
Technically it is a lightweight Blockchain designed to address the interoperability and security of healthcare data. It follows the Node functionality to form a peer to peer topology; each node is a participant and can be hosted by any healthcare provider. Individual FHIR statement, generated as medical events will be aggregated into a single new block at the end of synchronization. These newly created blocks are encrypted (AES256) with previous block hash and time stamped. The new block is then broadcasted, validated and added to the FHIRChain.
@VanderbiltU & @VarianMedSys created a FHIRChain-based decentralized app (#DApp) using digital health identities to easily authenticate participants and manage data access authorizations in a case study of clinical data sharing.
Most of the current healthcare challenges come from systematic asymmetries and inefficient information access. The open and transparent architecture, peer-to-peer information exchange using FHIR and Blockchain has enormous potential to fix this data silos.