BLOCKCHAIN CREATES TRUST
Tekst og foto: infinitiv.no
NTNU researchers behind the service VerifyMed will use the cryptocurrency technology blockchain to confirm that the doctor who treats you online has the expertise you need.
More often we go outside doctors’ offices and hospitals to get help. The health services are also being moved to the cloud, online and on screen. The trend was clear earlier, but accelerated during the pandemic: The use of video consulting and other telemedicine is expected to increase annually by 27 percent until 2027.
Such services help to simplify the everyday life of patients, who do not have to spend part of their working day in a waiting for a person in a doctor’s coat to call out their last name. The doctor’s office still invites confidence and you feel you have come to the right place to get help with your ailments.
How to create the same trust when the health services are provided as an online service?
Researcher Anton Hasselgren is behind the service VerifyMed, which aims to verify doctors ‘and healthcare professionals’ work experience and competence, so that you as a patient can be sure the person on the other side of the screen is a qualified specialist and not an sympathetic quack or swindler that will flea you for money.
The patient of the future must expect to take more responsibility for their own health and will to a greater extent seek out specialists without going the way of the GP. Today, many Norwegian patients use legelisten.no to map relevant doctors. But the service is controversial, partly due to sometimes prejudiced and subjective characteristics of doctors.
Trust in a global healthcare sector
– VerifyMed is a digital portfolio for the work history of health professionals, and will contain everything from references, academic achievements and courses. One problem we are trying to solve is trust in health care outside the country’s borders, says Anton Hasselgren.
The patient should be able to perform simple searches for symptoms or diagnoses and then get suggestions for healthcare professionals worldwide with relevant expertise and experience to treat your disorders. Maybe there are only a dozen doctors in the world who have cutting-edge expertise in whats wrong with you. VerifyMed will be a quick, objective and safe way for you as a patient to examine the qualifications of the health worker, whether the doctor is based in China, Poland or in Norway.
– In near future, the health services will become more and more globalized. It will be more common to get health services from other countries, and we can get all types of health care through our PC and telephone, says Anton Hasselgren.
Telemedicine has already made health services more accessible to an increasing part of the world’s population. Several European countries offer free digital health services online to the war-torn population of Ukraine. In sub-Saharan Africa, there are several development projects that are about offering digital health services in areas where it is far to the nearest doctor, but where they still have smartphones and internet access.
All data in VerifyMed is stored in a blockchain, the same technology used in cryptocurrency and NFT art. The goal is to create an objective, transparent and decentralized database that is virtually impossible to falsify.
– We want in a systematic way to produce competence data that is as objective as possible. We have created a system for how to enter data in the blockchain. This is done through a set of different rules and the data must meet certain criteria in order to be entered. You can not enter what you want, says Anton Hasselgren.
The blockchain technology is well suited in the health sector in cases where health data must be secured against tampering, at the same time as the data must be able to be verified by everyone. For example, several vaccination certificates are based on blockchain.
Will be tested on patients
The project was awarded 200,000 by NTNU Discovery. The funds ensure the development of an updated version of the prototype to be tested on patients. The goal is to see if VerifyMed actually givs a higher degree of trust.
The team behind VerifyMed will now investigate how they can make money in the long run.
The team behind VerifyMed consists mainly of Anton Hasselgren, in addition to his supervisors Arild Faxvaag, professor of health informatics and associate professor Katina Kralevska, and Danilo Gligoroski, professor of cryptography.
DETTE ER BLOKKJEDE
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