Kate visited 35 doctors before she got her diagnosis--and it was stage 4 cancer. Part of the reason was her lack of control when it came to her medical records. As she traveled to specialists in hope to shed light into her painful symptoms, the transfer of records lagged behind. In fact, it was her own self-reliance that after 35 visits, she requested a CAT scan and found the root of her sickness.
The sheer number of visits that Kate went through is indicative of how much we trust our doctors--and a lack of autonomy on our own health. What if a scientist across the world could have easily seen her records and had given Kate advice? What if, a machine learning scientist had a model that could accurately detect the cancer that Kate had? What if, those doctors who saw her could have had more information and context behind her illness?
To address these issues, we wanted to leverage the blockstack platform to accomplish the following tasks:
1) Users have total control over access and location of their records. 2) An open-source layer can link participants and researchers to carry out public policy studies and ML training. 3) The user can securely and safely disclose their medical data with others whom he or she desires.
We're excited to show you our vision of healthcare where doctors, data-scientists, family members, and individuals can all work together to advance one of the most backward systems in the world today.
What it does
We leverage blockstack and cryptography to achieve the following results:
1) A user can selectively share their data with people of his or her choosing. This is powered by sophisticated public-private key exchanges.
2) The user has complete control over her data; only she can fully see, manipulate, and distribute her own data. However, we ensure that the user can't act maliciously by requiring medical records to be signed digitally by medical professionals where it can ensure integrity of the document.
3) Our application acts as a middle layer where we can link willing participants to medical professionals, data scientists, and other researchers who are interested in helping progress healthcare. This is all based on a opt-in system and is mindful of censoring certain information.
Challenges we ran into
One of the more fundamental libraries/API's we hoped to leverage had potential bugs and roadblocks which, unfortunately, meant we had to come up with a new system design for our application the night before. We were bummed because our original solution would have been more elegant, polished, and would have allowed us to do much more.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- Fully understanding a completely new framework within the span of the hackathon.
- Being able to successfully pivot after a disappointing turn of events.
- Picking up new technologies tremendously fast given our overall lack of experience.
- Taking a radical approach in a notoriously conservative industry.
What we learned
- Ability to sleep anywhere, anytime.
What's next for Block n Dock?
- Better tackling some of the challenges that come from dealing with medical records.
- Giving users financial incentive to participate in research.
- Allowing an open discourse of health such that we can progress more effectively in healthcare.