In 2017, a close family friend passed away due to the healthcare workers in the emergency room not knowing her medical history and allergies. The lack of consistent communication between healthcare providers is a large issue in the medical industry. We also noticed that doctors need to request information between institutions and clinics, which further delays the diagnosis and treatment process, which can be a crucial factor in someone's health. We wanted to think of a secure way to transfer and centralize patient data to allow access to patient data for all certifies healthcare institutions and patients. We decided to use Blockchain because of its security and immutability. LifeChain focuses on:
- Security: using Blockchain algorithms to create a chain of trust and transfer data between institutions securely
- Consistency: maintain data integrity due to immutable Blockchain technology
- Transparency: allow transparency between healthcare providers and patients about diagnostics and medications
- Usability: sleek and user friendly interface to allow for a positive user experience for all stakeholders
What it does
LifeChain uses Blockchain technology to store patient profiles within block ledgers to securely store all historical data about a patient such as: examinations, medical procedures, lab tests, and medications. Data remains secure and authentic, maintaining data integrity and a chain of trust.
Users can be healthcare professionals who access the patient's information through the institution's certified database which can securely offload data from the blockchain. This interface can allow all professionals to have immediate access to patient history and conduct data analysis without changing the data itself.
Users can also be patients. Patients have a separate interface which allows them to read-only, but have complete access to their own personal history. This increases transparency between doctors and patients and allows patients to have a better understanding of their own health.
How we built it
- ARK for creating a node for Blockchain technology
- DigitalOcean for creating a virtual machine to run the Ark node
- DataStax Astra for creating databases for individual institutions
- Google Cloud Platform cloud platform for deploying DataStax Astra
- Figma for prototyping design before development
- React for front end web application development
- Node.js for server of web application
- Express for routing of web application
Challenges we ran into
This was both of our first time attempting to implement blockchain, so it was a learning curve to understand the applications. We tackled this by attending the MLH workshop about blockchain and researching more about the applications and development with blockchain. We learned that the most common way to use blockchain was for cryptocurrency, however it can be used for different things. We wanted to innovate a way to combine blockchain, distributed data, and social good. This type of application of blockchain is not common, so it was a challenge to find information about this new emerging technology.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're proud of tackling a large medical issue in society which affects many people daily, yet is often overlooked. This is a problem that we personally face ourselves, and we're proud that we were able to ideate and develop and solution that can potentially contribute to the improvement of the medical system. We feel proud of ourselves for being able to learn something new and apply it.
What we learned
We learned a lot about blockchain, databases, and the issues in healthcare. This was both of our first time learning about blockchain development and particularly the potential fusion of blockchain and databases. With growing technologies, it's important that we focus on ways we can use technology for social good. We want to continue learning more about security, data, and the positive applications to improve everyday social issues.
What's next for LifeChain
We need to keep watch for updates in blockchain technology, the applications with databases, and its accessibility, in order to optimize our back-end. Also, we need to research more about privacy and legal regulations in order to properly understand the system we are trying to improve. We're looking forward to continuing this project and updating as we learn.