A few years ago, requesting your records meant dusting off your fax machine to receive your records. Today in the U.S., with the advent of the electronic Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR) the future is bright for receiving your electronic medical health records in near-real time to the platform of your choice.
This is good news because in the last couple years we have also started to see the rise of digital therapeutics. For example, digital therapeutics are currently being studied in helping people with mental health, tracking anxiety and communicating with healthcare professionals.
Digital therapeutics offer a promising solution to help people live longer, healthier and happier lives. Digital therapeutics are beginning to show that by providing online guidance to people's behaviors people's medical or psychological conditions are improving.
As the digital therapeutic market shows massive signs of growth and acceptance from people, insurance companies and payers the amount of digital health records is set to continue growing.
Digital therapeutics are exciting but it is also important to ensure the way health data is encrypted, managed, stored and transferred is updated as well.
We believe that digital therapeutics will continue to help many people but may also pose massive risk for health data leakage and errors if the proper system architecture is not in place.
What are Smart Contracts
Smart contracts were first popularized by the Ethereum Protocol and they allow programs to self-execute and run without the need of a third party or a middleman. In healthcare situations smart contracts can be used by a patient to select which part of an EMR they would like to share with a researcher and the length of time.
This is important because organizations and the company's that host the data do not have the ability to decrypt the records, the end user (the patient) stays in control.
A patient controlling a private key is the ultimate owner of her/his data and can create a smart contract to permission someone to access a portion or all of her/his data.
These are the top three reasons we have determined that smart contracts are vital for a responsible and safe ecosystem that respects people's privacy, prevents data hand off errors and enables researcher's with the best tools.
Data being handed off to researchers or entering into a traditional database would benefit from having a traceable original public ledger and validation from a network of nodes versus a single entry into a database.
During our discussions with healthcare researchers, often times patient information runs a risk of being shared and hopped over via email or other secure messaging applications. Although the ability for healthcare providers and researchers communicating electronically is increasing (which is good) the information also runs additional risk of being crossed or confused with other patient data.
By creating unique transactions which are encrypted on a public ledger such as this:
Researchers with the proper permissions provided by the data owner can decrypt the information. Therefore creating a singular and verifiable source of data.
In the case of digital therapeutics, the therapy will only be as good as the source of data that is provided. Apart from ensuring privacy for the person interacting with the digital therapeutic it is also important to consider the immutability
Banishing email as an authentication mechanism
Would you trust the title of your home to be associated to your email address? In other words, if someone gained access to your e-mail through some kind of basic phishing scam that caught you off guard would you allow for the most valuable assets to be tied to your email authentication? Probably not.
Email is a notoriously terrible way to authenticate accounts. Email hosting providers can get hacked, you can mistakenly type in the domain and enter your password to a phishing service. Imagine having your most personal health records accessible in the event of your email being accessed. Digital therapeutics hold lots of promise but we need to rethink
Capturing a person's email as the primary source of authentication has many flaws, instead we should consider providing a cryptographic account number and a 12 word recovery seed to access the account.
We can't have smart digital therapeutics with dumb authentication. It makes no sense. It is just another reason why smart contracts and unique 12 word recovery seeds may hold the future of smart authentication.
Contact us if you would like a free consultation on your health data smart contracts.