Last weekend Eelke and I participated in the largest blockchain hackathon of the world: Blockchaingers in Groningen, The Netherlands. Our team, HealthUnchained, focused on solving a specific use case brought forward by the geriatric department of the UMC Groningen. UMCG is seeking a blockchain solution that empowers healthcare professionals to cooperate in a trusted environment. The power of blockchain can deliver such solution, which enables a wide range of organizations to work together, efficiently as well as securely.
While it was a complex case, our business analysts quickly figured out where the business value resided. After these initial considerations we took the remainder of the 48 hours to create a prototype that was comprised of three separate applications.
- A timeline application for all professionals and non-professionals involved in the care for a patient at home, adjusting information based on the role of the person viewing the timeline. Additionally, we made it possible for informal caretakers, the only participants without a third party application, to add comments and questions to the timeline as well.
- A blockchain application storing references to data from third party applications and measurements of sensor data. We decided to only store references to data to ensure we can be privacy and healthcare legislation compliant as patient data is clearly confidential and private information.
- An API, connecting the blockchain references to a NoSQL database and providing a single interface to interact with our application timeline and enabling third party applications and measurement devices to enrich our timeline.
Moreover we set up a role-based permission system that enables the patient to control who has access to which data, thus creating a curated timeline for every healthcare professional working with the patient.
This being the largest blockchain hackathon in the world, we did not stop there. As the architecture design shows, we decided to hook up some sensors and see if we could integrate a basic alarm system. After we managed to create alarms both on the open timeline and relay them through messaging services to the appropriate clinician, our time was up and we had to present our solution to the judges. And not without any result as the title claims!
UMCG chose our solution as the runner up in the health track. The winner of the health track focused on a different problem, so for all we care we made the best solution for the case presented by the UMCG.
Although we received a lot of praise for this idea, we also learned some very important lessons. First, your team members can make it or break it during a hackathon. Also, it is essential to bring a skilled UI/UX developer to these events as a well-designed interface can make or break your chances. (P.S. If you are one of these people, make sure to send us a message!) Finally, as I have told you guys before, VueJS is awesome!
We ended up receiving invitations from multiple organizations interested in our approach. Stay tuned to our blog and medium to learn more about our plans to scale up this business opportunity in the upcoming 100 days.
That leaves me with thanking all the team members involved in a great weekend and a cool journey into the world of healthcare and blockchain technology. Thank you Blockchaingers and thank you team HealthUnchained!!