First, what is Blockchain? Blockchain is a security software system that uses decentralized transparency mechanisms. Within a blockchain, each block in the chain is simultaneously unique to itself, informationally speaking, and a part of a larger dependent system that is self-regulated by its users who store and share data with each other, without depending on a third party. Such technology is commonly seen in practice, with cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. In 2008, Satoshi Nakaomo created the platform to create an attack resilient collection of data in which transactions among the network are decentralized, peer-to-peer, and are “reviewed,” by the users of the network to keep the system legitimate and protected.
As the world becomes more “digitalized,” blockchain technology has seen its use outside of financial use, and towards healthcare and counseling. Researchers have developed and experimented a mHealth (mobile health) application for smart phones for cognitive behavioral therapy to help treat insomnia. Specifically, the application sends clients health information to a secluded blockchain system. The electronic medical records (EMR) were found to be protected and resilient to change due to the mechanism of the blockchain, and the records were available and managed by the client. Essentially, such systems like this make it easier for the client to record information and send it to healthcare services quickly, regardless of distance between services and client. This allows clients to manage their own care using blockchain and a clients may be more inclined to engage taking care of their overall welfare. In relation, having one’s medical records can sometimes be useful within the field of counsleing. Gathering such information is challenging as they are vastly used by different healthcare providers. Blockchain can be helpful to secure such records. In a study, MIStore, a blockchain based information organization system permits efficient EMR use via decentralized blockchain mechanisms. In turn, MIStore has been used as a blockchain-based medical insurance storage method as it operates with different hospital, client, and insurance company systems that carefully checks each of their usage and does so safely. The MIStore study is unique as not much research has been done on such systems, but more studies will be conducted in the near future.
It’s been proposed that using Ethereum amenities, a decentralized protocol, which allows creators to run applications on a custom-developed blockchain. Such system can help create authenticity, and a client cannot alter the record without the permission of health care provider, like a hospital, but the client could still be administrator of who can have contact to their document(s). Considering that counselors/therapist within the field of mental health are required to uphold and protect the information of their clients, a generic understanding of blockchain information is needed. It is presumed that as such technological advances are already being tested now, it will not be too far long into the future where blockchian will be implemented within patient-centered care services.
Chen, H. S., Jarrell, J. T., Carpenter, K. A., Cohen, D. S, & Huang, X. (2019). Blockchain in healthcare: A patient-centered model. Biomedical Journal of Scientific & Technical Research, 20(3), 15017-15022.