Can you imagine gambling with Patient Identity? Imagine entering a patient's name in the hospital system and hoping to God that you get the medical records of the right patient. It’s a scary proposition but unfortunately, it happens every day and the problem increases exponentially when you factor in pandemic like COVID-19. We have personally seen it happen because these kinds of avoidable mistakes have led to sufferings and death for our own loved ones.
We further noticed that due to the pandemic, healthcare providers and other organizations have suspended the use of biometric attendance and other identification methods for healthcare professionals and citizens because current methods spread COVID-19 and other contagions due to physical contact. We also realized that there is no way of linking the patient health data (medication, illnesses etc) to the physical characteristics of the patient and healthcare providers heavily rely on ID cards which can be easy stolen or lost.
We believe that in order to truly innovate healthcare we needed to introduce cutting-edge technology which can identify patients without any physical contact and can create a health data ledger of the patients by leveraging their biometrics.
What it does
Liber Health (formerly AzaadHealth) is the first nationwide patient identity blockchain network which uses patient biometrics for identification, privacy and health data linkage.
The solution utilizes a portable and contactless device to identify patients using IRIS scans during the entire healthcare process including registration, emergency, drug administration and blood transfusions. Our alternative contactless IRIS identification technology which is far superior, portable and safer in every way.
Liber Health is both a standalone solution for patient identification and also an extension of the existing hospital systems and electronic medical record (EMR) systems for health data interoperability.
Think of us as the intra bank technology (like VisaNet and UnionPay) but rather than authorizing bank accounts and transferring money, we authorize patients and transfer their clinical records to healthcare stakeholders.
The platform will save thousands of patient lives lost due to medical errors caused by patient misidentification, lack of auditable health data and person-to-person contagion spread.
It will also allow healthcare providers to instantly and safely recognize patients with contagious disease without any IDs and take effective measures to quarantine and provide them with proper treatment. This is specially needed in refugee situations where there are no identifications or paperwork.
How we built it
The entire platform is built on international interoperability and security standards including HL7, FHIR and HIPAA which makes it compatible and scalable to almost every Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system and healthcare application.
The blockchain solution is built upon HyperLedger Fabric and Composer, creating a permissioned blockchain network among all the healthcare stakeholders; including payors, patients and providers. The best part is, the solution does not rely on any cryptocurrency or "coins" which makes the interaction with the platform easy, transparent and above all frictionless. This combined with FHIR standards enables organizations and providers to simply plug and run our solution with existing systems without having to learn a whole new digital economy.
It uses a small and economical IRIS scanner to capture an image of the person's IRIS. The device can be connected to both cellphones and computers. The image is then sent to the server with the relevant patient information. The image is converted into an IRIS template and the patient data is encrypted with that template. The encrypted data is then saved on the blockchain. The data is only decrypted when a valid set of biometric scans are provided for any particular patient.
Challenges we ran into
Major challenges we faced were around integrating these different technologies, making them work together seamlessly and having them comply to various healthcare regulations. For example, we had to interface the IRIS device with a cellphone and also apply encryption.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We brought on-board some amazing advisers who are helping us with business development, marketing, blockchain and healthcare.
Our technology is patent pending for which we recently signed a joint provisional patent with University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
We have now also been selected for Niagara Falls Ryerson Innovation Hub in Canada. This will give us access to funding and deployment projects with Niagara Health Foundation.
What we learned
Although we have prior experience working in the digital health space, we learned quite a lot working with latest technologies. We also learned that no single organization is capable of tackling healthcare related problems because there is so much red tape and so many moving parts involved. It has to be a collaborated initiative where multiple organization work together, complimenting each other.
What's next for Liber Health
Our vision is to create a consortium of all the health ministries and healthcare stakeholders of the world. and since we leverage distributed ledger technology, there is no central authority, there is no single point of failure and no single entity owns the data. Instead everyone works together for patient safety and empowerment.
We are currently in the process of identifying organizations which can best benefit from this technology. We believe the humanitarian organizations (like CDC, WHO and MSF) and the various health ministries are a perfect fit and we can provide our technology at a discounted price to COVID-19 affected customers.
We would love to partner and work with these organizations to combat this problem and make people's lives better. The world needs a relief, specially in these troubling times and we want to do our part!