Walmart Wins Patent for Blockchain-Based Medical Records System
According to a patent filing published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, U.S. retail giant Walmart has been awarded a patent for a system that would store medical records on a blockchain from a wearable device.
This physical device is worn on the body, wherein any case first responders could access the patient’s medical records using an RFID scanner. This device will allow medical professionals to effectively obtain critical information if the patient is unable to communicate.
This device will also allow efficient sharing of medical information between hospitals and healthcare entities, again using the blockchain to store all information.
The patent filing also discusses the core of the system’s operation:
“… receiving, by a processor of a computing system, an encrypted private key and a public key associated with the patient stored on a wearable device of the patient, in response to a scanning of the wearable device of the patient at a scene of an emergency, wherein the encrypted private key is decrypted by a biometric signature of the patient; obtaining, by the processor, the biometric signature of the patient by scanning a bodily feature of the patient; decrypting, by the processor, the encrypted private key using the biometric signature of the patient to determine a private key associated with the patient; and accessing, by the processor, the medical records of the patient, using a combination of the public key and the private key associated with the patient, to access a local storage medium of the wearable device.”
This patent filing is one of many blockchain based endeavors Walmart has locked down this year. According to Fortune and Cointelegraph, Walmart is considering purchasing health insurer Humana, a company with which the retailer has an established relationship. Should the new blockchain medical record system prove viable, a partnership with Humana would provide an indispensable data depository.
It will be interesting to see how these projects evolve within their respective industries as the implementation of blockchain technology within big businesses flourishes.