New-York based Embleema announced on Tuesday the launch of a HIPAA compliant healthcare blockchain network which will allow patients to access and share their medical records.
Embleema emerged out of stealth mode after one year of R&D to launch a personal health record platform poised to disrupt a global digital health market worth 200 billion dollars.
For many decades, every major player in the industry (Epic, Athenahealth, Cerner etc) has tiptoed around solving this problem. To some extent, with good reason.
With tens of electronic medical record solutions on the market – with most not “talking” to each other – seamlessly sharing patient data across systems was deemed impossible.
A new product for old health-related needs
Embleema has announced building a complex platform on top of blockchain that will make sharing medical records a lot easier.
According to Embleema executives, testers of its blockchain platform will have the exclusive right to grant access to their medical data for trials, and be compensated directly for doing so.
The company also announced that patients will be able to centralize all their health data in a completely secure, HIPAA compliant environment.
In addition, Embleema officials said that real-time sharing of data between hospitals, patients, pharmacists, and doctors will finally become a reality:
“We focus on real data from real patients in the real world, something the health system has struggled with”, Robert Chu, CEO and founder of Embleema, said in a statement published on mobihealthnews. “Our mission is to turn the bottle upside down and put patients first, restoring their sovereignty over their data. Blockchain removes the need for third parties to broker the sharing of data, while providing the most accurate data possible for precision medicine. This is the best way to guarantee that individual patient data will be used to their benefit.”
Cystic Fibrosis community, Embleema’s pilot customer
Embleema announced teaming up with Cystic Basically for their pilot launch.
Jeanne Barnett, Founder of CysticFibrosis.com and patient advocate for the Cystic Fibrosis community released the following statement about why the company partnered with Embleema:
A major concern of patients with Cystic Fibrosis is that their health data could be sold without their knowledge or consent. Clinical trial participants don’t know where their data is going and it contains a huge amount of personal information beyond just their health records. Blockchain allows patients to share their data to aid in research – but on their terms and with full respect to their privacy. Our patient surveys have shown that 53% would agree to it if they had a proper way to give their consent to accelerating research. The Cystic Fibrosis community is a perfect model to pilot the Embleema technology.
If successful, the pilot can open up the doors for thousands of healthcare companies to start sharing data via the Embleema platform. This will allow hundreds of thousands of doctors and care providers to easily access their patients’ data online.
Why is this good news?
The tech and medical community are bustling with excitement around Embleema’s recent announcement with hundreds of articles covering this topic.
The reason tech enthusiasts are excited about this solution is tied to its long-term potential and future applications.
If Embleema lives up to its potential, healthcare providers may easily and accurately communicate in real-time to transfer all essential patient health data across state lines, hospitals and practitioners.
Instant information transfer will likely improve response rates for real-time emergencies. Physicians and hospitals will be able to better guide patients to get the medical care they need if they have immediate access to all patient data.
The Embleema solution could also make life easier for patients with disabilities and their caretakers, cutting unnecessary waiting time by providing answers about past treatments or procedures when patients themselves are unable to give information.
Last but not least, doctors will be able to rule out treatments that have already been tried by simply tapping into their health data and electronic medical records.
What might go wrong?
As expected with new products and technologies, hospitals will be slow at adopting this or similar other solutions.
This will be a real challenge mainly because not all health care providers are digitized or digital savvy. As, of course, not all the patients are either.
In addition, one of the biggest concerns with cross-system integrations and data sharing will be data security.
At a time when cybercrime is at an all-time high, many healthcare executives will be legitimately concerned about hacking. Patients will pay $2 / month in subscription fees but users may get compensated for various activities, according to the Embleema website. A good price, it seems, but is it enough to pay for security measures? This remains to be seen.
Perspectives and future desired developments
Patients should own their data. There is no doubt about that. We should also be able to decide how and for what purpose this data can be leveraged. And, if applicable, we should be compensated for its use.
Embleema’s breakthrough technology is a victory for patients everywhere.
The Embleema platform could prove not only valuable but also indispensable to both patients and health services providers in the years to come.
At the moment, Embleema has a short-term competitive advantage by announcing the first technology of its kind on the market.
Yet healthcare professionals, hospitals, and patients alike may benefit in the long term if some of the established electronic healthcare record companies, like Athena Health or Epic, acquires Embleema or if these giants develop their own solution or allow for cross-system integrations.
Whatever the future holds, one thing is guaranteed: the Embleema solution is moving the entire healthcare industry in the right direction.
At Healthcare Weekly, we can’t wait for the moment when our medical data will be available to us and our doctors via the push of a button. Or, why not, via our smart or voice assistants.