One of the largest challenges facing the animal health care industry is the secure storage and transfer of a pet’s patient information. Oftentimes, siloed record-keeping systems can result in conflicting, ambiguous, or incomplete records. In addition, patients are often required to personally carry their pet’s medical information when veterinarians refer patients to other veterinarians or patients engage with a new veterinarian. This invariably leads to poor data handling, increased security risks, and inadvertent disclosures – especially if veterinarians use outdated and unsecured systems that are not connected with other veterinarian systems and applications that are frequently updated with the latest information. These challenges result in wasted resources, time, and potential legal exposure.
Another major problem facing animal health care and veterinarian systems throughout the world is how to share veterinarian records/data with more collaborators for more purposes, and also ensure data integrity and protecting patient privacy. With our vision, patients and the animal practices will be able to give all control of pet records to the patient and increasing accessibility of animal medical records and also enhancing the security of records through the power of Blockchain and cloud structure. Each and every patient will have its own secure manageable cloud space. Patients can store and manage animal medical records in their cloud pet health wallet anytime anywhere. The patient can replace hardcopy of medical records with their cloud pet medical wallet.
The inherent features of blockchain technology, however, can enable the owner of animal medical data to maintain its privacy while also providing a vehicle for patients, veterinarians, and animal specialists to share the same information rapidly and securely. For example, when a medical record is created, it can be securely stored on the blockchain and encoded with a private key. This way it’s only accessible to certain individuals, giving patients more control over their own records and ensuring privacy without the need for a central gatekeeper. In addition, blockchain technology can reduce patient documentation errors and issues resulting from conflicting data among veterinarians or lack of data accessibility. Moreover, blockchain technology, in combination with smart contracts, can set parameters that only allow access to patient data in compliance with a patient’s consent policy.
We can see that animal providers can store patient’s data in blockchain using our smart pet health wallet API. Then the hyperledger provides the frameworks for blockchain. Once the patient data is written to the blockchain, it can only be decrypted using the patient’s private key, thus providing patients with control over information transferred between provider organizations. Blockchain technology supports the use of smart contracts. Smart contracts allow us to automate and track certain state transitions. The smart contract could check to ascertain that the blockchain was being updated with medical information from that provider, thereby providing the patients with an automated way to ascertain information is made available to other veterinarians and animal providers. When providers need access to the patient’s medical records/information in the blockchain, the provider’s system could automatically contact the blockchain where the patient has granted access. Authorized providers could obtain access in accordance with the patient’s preferences and patients would also know which providers were accessing their medical information. Patients could grant full access or choose to limit access to some information based upon preferences.
The smart pet health wallet offers patients improved control over their animal medical information and transparency between patients and veterinarians and animal medical data providers. The smart pet health wallet prototype provides a proof of concept system, demonstrating how principles of decentralization and blockchain architecture could contribute to secure patient’s medical records and also offer full control over their pet’s medical records.