This challenge requires teams to design a tool that can link family medical history data supplied by different family members together to create a ‘master’ family history for all linked family members using blockchain technology. Teams should focus on chain of custody as individual patients should be able to see their own family history data, but not what other members of the family have contributed. Additionally, a medical practice or physician, should have the ability to see both an individual’s contribution to family history as well as the ‘master’ family history generated. As privacy is key, this solution must be decentralized and keep personally identifiable information encrypted and from being accessed by non-authorized individuals. It is recommended that power of work can be ignored in this challenge.
In the United States, there are many laws and regulations about sharing private medical and personal information. Most of these are in place to protect the privacy of any one individual allowing for that individual to decide what information is shared, when it is shared, and with whom. The sense of privacy of our own health information is an important value to the majority of citizens, however this is sometimes in conflict of providing high quality, informed medical care.
One area of a person’s medical record that is used to inform both diagnostic and preventative medicine is the family history of an individual. Family histories are routinely completed by a patient at almost every medical appointment. The family history information that is collected from an individual is filed within a medical record each time it is completed, but is rarely, looked at collectively for that individual over the history of the individual completing the information. For example, if Sue has been going to the same medical practice for the past 5 years for annual visits as well as at least one other visit during the year for illness, she has likely completed a family history form at least 10 times. This data is recorded or copied into her medical record for each visit and is used for only that one visit, requiring Sue to complete a family history form again the next visit. Furthermore, Sue’s maternal aunt, paternal grandfather, and three cousins are also patients at the same medical practice. According to current medical practice, the family history information provided by each of these family members are each recorded in the individual medical records for those patients. Each patient is treated as an individual without any other family medical information than what was supplied by that person regardless of how complete or accurate that information may be.