Walmart have received a patent for a system designed to store patients medical records in a blockchain database that could be accessed in case of emergency. Radio frequency identification (RFID) scanners will be used to scan a wearable device and, in addition, a biometric scan of the patient’s face would authenticate access. To protect privacy the only medical information that is stored on the blockchain database is emergency-specific.
The patent application was filed for in December 2016 and is described as “Obtaining a Medical Record Stored on a Blockchain from a Wearable Device.” It was granted this week and, while we do not know if it will develop yet, the patent theorizes that the use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices will enable medical professionals to easily transmit this medical information from one entity to another. This will not only prove time-saving but also potentially life-saving.
“Blockchain fever” has been all the rage for the past few years as technologists and business people have sought to impose Bitcoin-like efficiencies (excision of middle-men, decentralized oversight, peer-to-peer transmission) on privately-controlled data systems.