Estonia to protect patient records with Guardtime blockchain technology

The Estonian eHealth Foundation has formed a partnership with the Estonian-founded, Amsterdam-based software security company, Guardtime, to use its blockchain-based security to protect patient records.

Estonia is one of the few countries in the world where a majority of citizens carry an ID-card with access to hundreds of government services. According to a statement by Guardtime, “electronic patient records are a critical component of these services and Guardtime’s blockchain technology enables an independent forensic-quality audit trail for the lifecycle of those records, making it impossible to manipulate information and hide what was changed”.

“This level of transparency and auditability is a global first and with healthcare fraud costing hundreds of billions of dollars every year, the Estonian model should provide a valuable template to dramatically reduce this fraud for the rest of the world,” Mike Gault, the CEO of Guardtime, said in a statement.

The Estonian eHealth Foundation will integrate Guardtime’s blockchain technology into its Oracle database engine, providing real-time visibility into the state of electronic systems and lifecycle management of patient records, the statement said. “KSI-instrumented records, based on hash function cryptography, will be mathematically irrefutable,” the company added. KSI stands for “keyless signature infrastructure”.

Guardtime’s blockchain technology “enables us to react to any incidents immediately, before potentially larger-scale damages can occur,” Margus Auväärt, the head of the eHealth Foundation, said.

The Estonian government and Guardtime began a formal cooperation in 2011, when select government organisations started deploying KSI blockchain to secure both public and internal records and logs to combat insider threat and indemnify the information systems operators.

According to Guardtime, Estonia is the first government in the world to have embraced the blockchain technology in its live production systems for ensuring the integrity of the records, logs and systems.

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Cover: Estonia has embraced a nationwide system that integrates data from Estonia’s different healthcare providers to a create a common record for each patient (the photo is illustrative).

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About the author: Sten Hankewitz

Sten Hankewitz is a lifelong journalist and Deputy Editor of Estonian World. Having lived in Estonia, Spain and the UK, he now resides in the United States. He loves to write and besides contributing to Estonian World and some occasional blogging, he writes for other media outlets in Estonia, Israel and elsewhere. He has strong convictions and he shows them unashamedly. You can follow him on Twitter, friend him on Facebook or check out his personal blog. You can write to Sten at sten@estonianworld.com.

  • Jim

    What problem is this solving? Is there a big issue with someone’s health records being modified? By whom?