The medical industry has been slow to embrace modern record-keeping technology. Health Port is bringing next-generation blockchain technology to Electronic Health Records (EHR). The idea behind Health Port is simple; make EHR technology simple, safe, and open source.
Around the time that the internet bubble was in full swing, there is a good chance that your local doctors were still writing health care records by hand. The internet has been a big force in the world of data, but the medical industry has been left out of the internet data revolution.
There are many reasons why health records have been left out of the modern data handling model, but it is time for a sea-change in the medical community. Today patients are at the mercy of badly built EHR systems that are designed for profit, not quality of care.
Health Port is Creating Solutions
According to, Janet Marchibroda, MBA, who is director of the health innovation initiative for the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington D.C.,
“We’ve spent nearly $40 billion on EHRs in the U.S., yet we continue to not have a high level of interoperability and information sharing, and that’s where most of the value of EHRs is derived.”
If you are new to this area, Marchibroda is describing the fact that there is little or no cooperation between the companies that make some of the most popular EHR systems being used today. In the normal world, common document formats like .docx or .pdf are commonplace, in the world of EHRs, there is basically no common language or format.
It is tempting to think that there is simply a lack of coordination between EHR developers, but the reality of the situation is likely worse. There is a lot of money to be made from exploiting EHRs for the benefit of profit, and locking healthcare providers into proprietary systems.
We Need Open Electronic Medical Records
Let’s pretend that you just moved from New York to San Antonio. On top of all the other work involved in the move, you have to secure your EHRs from your current healthcare provider and make sure that your new doctors can access information that is vital to your health.
It may come as a surprise, but getting your hands on your own medical records can be a daunting task.
According to verywellhealth.com, who cites a national survey conducted by Julia Adler-Milstein and Eric Pfeifer of the University of Michigan Schools of Information and Public Health, “Information blocking remains widespread to date. Respondents reported that vendors, hospitals and health systems routinely engaged in information blocking. Limited interoperability of products was one of the most common forms of this practice among vendors.”
The article goes on to state that, “Purportedly, the motivation behind such practices was a desire to increase revenue,” and that, “Another cited barrier to successful EMRs’ interoperability is a complex mix of technological issues and policy interactions.”
Health Port Works for Patients
Health Port is designed with the patient in mind. Unlike platforms that put the health care provider first, Health Port’s platform makes it easy to develop EMR systems that will make the hypothetical move from New York to San Antonio simple from a patient’s perspective.
By using blockchain technology, it is possible for a platform to deliver EHRs that are safe from being compromised, but easy to share with anyone the patient allows. The ‘ownership’ of the record is shifted from the healthcare provider to the patient, which is an ideal situation for creating better patient care.
Not only does Health Port’s platform allow patients to have a much higher degree of access and control over their EHRs, but it also allows independent developers to create innovative new data handling platforms.
Much in the same way that HTML allowed developers from all over the world to build the internet, Health Port makes is simple for the brightest minds in EHR development to shine. This is the total opposite of the current situation, where a few large EHR players have near-monopoly status in a vital industry.
The Benefits of Open EHRs
The most important reason why EHRs need to be open is patient care. A person should have easy access to their medical history. When a person changes location or healthcare providers, making sure their medical records go with them shouldn’t be a hassle.
An EHR isn’t special from a data handling perspective. Much like other sensitive personal information, it should be easy to share with authorized agents. In an emergency care scenario, this aspect of EHRs is even more important.
Let’s say that you are enjoying a ski vacation in Colorado, but your primary healthcare provider is in Los Angles. If you have to be hospitalized, there is no easy way for the doctors in Colorado to gain access to medical records that will help to determine the quality of care you receive.
Gaining access to a personal medical record should be as easy as sending any other file, especially given how important it is to your health and well-being. Health Port is working to create a world where patient care comes first, and companies that want to prevent access to personal data are driven from the marketplace.
EHRs Can Create Value
Until now, it has been very hard to apply modern data mining techniques to medical records. Amazon is working on an Artificial Intelligence platform that can digitize written medical records, probably in the hope that those medical records can be used for medical research.
Not only can EHRs help to ensure better patient care, but they can also be used to do valuable medical research. By using digital data analysis, medical researchers can use existing patient records to find patterns that may improve modern medicine.
Medical data can also be valuable to the patients that own it. Right now it is difficult for a patient to make money by leasing their data out to medical researchers, but open source medical records could change all that.
There is no reason why anything that could identify a specific person would have to be shared, but other valuable data could be sold to studies by willing patients.
Both medical researchers and patients could benefit from the kind of platform that Health Port has designed, and independent developers could actually use the platform to create data-mining specific ‘apps’. Blockchain technology makes sure that data transfers are secure, and that there is an indelible record of data flow.
Health Port is Leading the Way
Health Port’s initial platform will allow people to store Allergy Documentation, Medication Lists, and Procedure History on an easily sharable EMR. The platform will expand its functionality over the coming years and will allow independent developers to use it to create their own apps for the medical community.
The platform leverages the Tron blockchain network to function. While Health Port does have a dedicated token for their platform (called EHR), it isn’t designed to be used as a cryptocurrency or traded.
Health Port is continuing to develop its platform and has been actively making progress on the goals it set out for itself. If you would like to learn more about Health Port, check out their whitepaper here. The company is also looking for new members of its validation team.
They already have an MVP up and running which you can signup for here to test it out.
Overall Health Port is approaching one of the most vital areas of patient care with a great design philosophy that puts people before profit. Hopefully, its platform will catch on, and make a big difference in quality of care.