IIT-M team develops Blocktrack app for healthcare information system

The project, initiated in 2019, had CSR support from Infosys

Published - May 07, 2021 11:59 pm IST - CHENNAI

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras have developed “blocktrack”, a blockchain-based secure medical data and information exchange system for mobile phone applications. The system is field tested at the Institute’s hospital.

The project originated during the height of COVID-19 in 2020 has CSR support from Infosys. Blocktrack aims to securely digitising healthcare information systems while protecting sensitive personal information and medical records by decentralising control and ownership of patient data through a blockchain-based innovation.

The innovation is protected through a provisional IP filed with the Indian Patent Office.

Blocktrack has two separate versions — one for patients and another for doctors. A code for users is generated to ensure uniqueness across boundaries to prevent duplication. The app can transfer healthcare information management by maintaining data privacy and tracking the spread of infectious diseases across geographies.

Blocktrack allows for interoperability of systems for multiple hospitals, institutes and healthcare organisations. It integrates medical supply chain management and proactive tracking of the spread of contagious infections. The patient can choose to visit a healthcare facility, which is on the network of Blocktrack’s blockchain without worrying about duplication of records or re-registrations.

Prabhu Rajagopal, lead faculty for remote diagnostics, Centre for Nondestructive Evaluation (CNDE) in the mechanical engineering department, said the project depicted engineering innovations that had disruptive potential to transform multiple domains. “This is one of the first implementations of blockchain technology for securing healthcare data management systems,” he said.

Blocktrack is developed to integrate primary healthcare; prescription; pharmacy; distribution and insurance network.

Chief Medical Officer of the Institute Hospital at IIT-M Rebecca Punithavalli said: “In a medical emergency, it is critical to know the patient’s medical history of illnesses, surgeries, medication, and allergies among others. Having easy access to such information via a phone app can be useful and helpful. Blocktrack will truly solve the purpose as technological assistance in time of need.”

Team leader Abhishek Rana said their interaction with doctors and patients helped.

There were technical and design aspect challenges in implementing the project at the hospital though, recalled Shashwant Pandey, mobile app development lead. “It took thorough research and engineering skills for successful execution. DApp (Decentralised Application) is an emerging area of research and development.”

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