Data sharing in general is an issue with lots of critical steps, in terms of security and consistency. Time to time it is in the headlines that there is some data breach in some company. In addition, bad actors may potentially change critical data for their own benefits on a traditional data storage solution, like a database. Problems with sharing medical records of patients and people under risk for Covid-19, in a secure and private way

What it does

Using a permissioned blockchain to allow medical institutions and government agencies to store and share medical data of the citizens to avoid the issues with potential data breaches and data tampering. Although for many blockchain usually means cryptocurrencies, the underlying technology simply allows immutable data recording, and storing the data cryptographically tamperproof way, that replacing traditional data storage applications with a permissioned blockchain based application would ease the pain on breaches and tampers. And when it comes to data sharing amongst medical institutions and other government agencies, it would be provided as built-in feature of the permissioned chain, that there wouldn't a need to any external arrangements or lengthy data crunching processes. While a patient himself/herself can have read-only access rights to his/her own medical details, write-access will be only given to the allowed medical institutions and allowed actors (i.e medical personnel). The wallet addresses on the chain would easily be binded to NRIC numbers of the citizens as well, so that the immutability and relevancy of the data would be protected. In this way, any attempt to hide medical history from the national authorities would be prevented. For example, instead of asking for a person to declare if he/she has any underlying illness/symptoms/medical conditions at the airports could be replaced by an automated check with a simple scan of his/her NRIC, that deceiving authorities would be prevented.

Scaling, Concerns, and Potential

As the system would be on a permissioned blockchain, horizontally scaling the system would be quite straightforward, and as it is permissioned, the scaling could be easily controlled. You may scale up or down depending on the circumstances for instance. As a national solution, the blockchain nodes can run on servers located in Singapore, hence any kind of latency or lag issues would be minimized due to the geographical distance. The read-only accesses to the medical data by the patient himself/herself would an easy-to-use mobile application, hence it can widely be accepted as a replacement of medical data flow by patients as well. For instance, instead of getting a paper medical report to their company or certain agencies (i.e visa applications), they would simply use their mobile wallet application to access related data as a proof. For write-access, it would be restricted to certain institutions, like clinics or hospitals, and as they are already using some form of electronic storage, the healthcare personnel would have a quite flat learning curve to use the new data storage/tracking system. The main issue with the application would be migration of the existing data from current storage systems to the new blockchain based system, that it might require certain form of data migration policies to start using the new system. But again at this point, as the blockchain system would be developed from scratch, it can be developed in a way to make the historic data migration easier.

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