Imagine for a moment a healthcare system where patients control who sees their data. An individual at home recovering from a procedure might sign in to her medical account through a personalized dashboard on her phone, and with a couple of swipes give her physician consent to share her health record with her pharmacist. Or that same patient—determined to get a second opinion after a follow-up visit for imaging and labs—again might give permission to an off-site provider to go into her account and take a look at her results.
In this imaginary world, there would be no need to travel from hospital A to hospital B for another appointment and another round of testing; and that pharmacist, wherever he might be, wouldn’t need to be part of the same integrated network as his patient’s referring physician. Medical information would live in “digital medical wallets”—and these wallets would be carried by the patients themselves.
If it all sounds a little farfetched, that’s because it is, at least for right now. But a few years down the road? Blockchain technology holds the promise to make it a reality.