Walmart Granted Patent For Blockchain-Based Medical Records
The system, according to the document, will allow medical professionals to retrieve medical data from a patient that is unable to communicate. The patient’s medical records will theoretically be stored on a blockchain, accessible by a device worn by the patient that first responders could access with an RFID scanner.
The obtained medical information may be shared with hospitals and other healthcare entities, meaning that if the patient is transported from one medical care organization to another, their data will be available to medical care personnel before the patient’s arrival. Through the use of secure ledger technology, first responders and health providers would gain the ability to unlock and access essential medical data in the case of emergencies, even when a patient is unresponsive.
It is indicated in the patent that Walmart is looking to create a system that simplifies the public/private key transaction necessary to blockchain (likely for a senior audience), which would allow for intuitive sharing of sensitive medical information. It could boil down to something as simple as a bracelet, worn by patients, which could be scanned to ease the process of check-in and medical history retrieval.
In its patent application, Walmart: “The medical record of the patient is stored on a blockchain and includes an encrypted private key and a public key associated with the patient, stored on a wearable device of the patient.”
Walmart is considering purchasing health insurer Humana, a company with which the retailer has an established relationship. Should the new blockchain medical record system prove viable, a partnership with Humana would provide an indispensable data depository.