Data storage in healthcare industries is of critical importance. Security breaches in this sector will not only have an impact financially — in terms of health insurance — but could also compromise patient safety. The new platform Timicoin aims to enhance patient data safety through blockchain technology.
Describing themselves as the “Tokenized Healthcare Ecosystem,” Timicoin claims to offer a solution to the current fragmented and isolated nature of patient health data, which results in inefficient and ineffective use of the information. For example, medical institutions transferring information on patients is currently more complex than it should be, because of isolated facilities and user data. Timicoin propose that their blockchain solution will secure healthcare information within a Health Information Exchange (HIE).
The Timicoin white paper defines an HIE as “a reliable and interoperable electronic sharing of clinical data obtained by the patients, physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other health care [sic] providers across unaffiliated institutions which in turn creates a network effect.” The team claims that this will allow for the simple transfer of patient data, no matter where in the world they are being treated. This, in turn, would avoid wasting resources — for example, retesting patients when results have already been obtained elsewhere.
TimiHR is the name given to the “mobile health record” accessible via a mobile app, enhancing the portable nature of personal health data. The TimiHR ecosystem will be powered by the Timicoin Utility Token and also feature the HIPAA compliant TimiChat private messaging service to allow secure communications between patients, providers and other data users. TimiCloud is a secure storage platform also featured on the app, used for all blockchain backups and data index references. The separate TimiPaitent app will also allow patients to manage permissions for consumers requesting to access their data and maintain their health records, as well as control Timicoin payments and deposits.
The team outlines the four steps of how the system works. Firstly, daily activity data from wearable smart healthcare devices is provided with the patient’s permission. Clinical trial reports and test results can then be combined with this monitoring data and added to the TimiEMR hospital records. TimiHealth’s “Query Engine” can then mine patient records when a consumer requests access to the data, and once the contract and payment have been confirmed and processed, the private data records can be shared — via blockchain — directly between the provider and consumer. The team is keen to highlight that patient identity is never revealed unless explicit permission is granted by the patient, and access can only be granted to their data when confirmed by the patient via the TimiPatient app. Security is enhanced by the use of reputable systems such as DashPay for payments and Hyperledger for data sharing.
Timicoin claims there could be multiple benefits to this storage system. Firstly, in terms of authenticity, any tampering of network nodes in the blockchain can be easily detected by users, as the latest node hash will always be passively connected to the previous node hash. Secondly, patient information will be constantly available from anywhere in the world — in real time — from any updated node, once the patient grants permission. And finally, the Hyperledger system will enhance privacy by implementing a “permissioned blockchain network that will define user roles and access based on the type of user and the payment contracts.” This data will remain on the healthcare institution’s computer, unless shared on the Hyperledger channel after the contract has been initialized.
In terms of mining and rewards, newly generated Timicoins are allocated to miners who process the transaction. Transaction fees will also sometimes be given to patients for providing data and identity.
According to the company, this approach to healthcare data storage has been welcomed by some prominent medical professionals, with Jim Bonnette, M.D., outlining the positives that tokenization can bring to healthcare. Andre Laurent, the worldwide director of engineering for enterprise networking sales at Cisco, has also explained the multiple benefits of blockchain integration in the health professions.
Timicoin, with their advisory board based in the U.S. and technology teams in Puerto Rico, India and London, could be set to simplify and secure how healthcare data is stored, as well as enhancing how it can be best used to further the development of modern medicine.
By Katharine Sharpe