Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Ties up With Blockchain Startup MediBloc

Blockchain as technology often gets confused with its by-product, cryptocurrency. Most of the people who have ever heard of blockchain often cannot differentiate between blockchain and Bitcoin. However, the real world use case of blockchain is not just limited to tokenizations and cryptocurrencies.

Blockchain as a technology can be best used in the data storage sector and healthcare, where the importance of data increases many folds. In one of the first attempt by a major healthcare institution, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), one of the top 5 hospitals in the United States has tied up with a Korean blockchain startup MediBloc. The purpose of the partnership is to create a network of decentralized patient data to help the community more efficiently.

At present, the data collection is done by different institutions such as the hospital, the research bodies, Insurance companies, and Pharmaceutical companies independently. These institutions work independently of each other. Thus there is no mode to transfer these data securely.

Synho Do, director of the Laboratory of Medical Imaging and Computation, a joint venture of MGH and Harvard Medical School, commented on the new partnership, stating that,

“In collaboration with Medibloc, we aim to explore potentials of blockchain technology to provide secure solutions for health information exchange, integrate healthcare AI applications into the day-to-day clinical workflow, and support [a] data sharing and labeling platform for machine learning model development.”

MediBloc is aiming at creating a decentralized form of medical data sharing platform, which is not only looking for a distributed ledger but also inventing new tools so that the inadequate data held by independent hospitals can be made available on the network too.

The said partnership is not the first attempt at implementing blockchain with the medical data, but never before a big institution like MGH has decided to take the initiation. The issue with the earlier form of data storage was the monopoly. Most of the hospitals hire IT, vendors, to design data systems, who are not willing to let go of their developed and stored data. The issue is so complex that most of the hospitals have more than one database for different diseases.


The Partnership Aims to Change the Patient Data Storage and Monopoly

The partnership between MediBloc and MGH aims to redefine how medical data is collected stored and used. Medibloc has made a mark in South Korea and grabbed the attention of public and government during its ICO in December 2017. The other reason for its success could be its founders  Kho and Eunsol Lee being doctor themselves. This aspect also helped the brand to have a cordial relationship with government officials and hospitals.

Medi Bloc had reasonable success in getting partners in Asia. The list includes eight medical institutions and fourteen tech giants in the region.

The founders are confident that MediBloc would be fully functional by the second quarter of 2019. The blockchain based network will use the Proof of Work (PoW) algorithm to complete tasks on the platform. Currently, they are dependent on the ten blocks which would be 21 on the mainnet to execute their transactions. However, once it gets mainstream, the block size would increase accordingly.

The startup is also looking for the development of specific applications which would help the laymen interact with the blockchain without having to be aware of the technicals aspects of it.