Gates Foundation gives Factom a grant to deploy blockchain for medical records

The technology company said it will use the money to focus on secure access of health data via smartphones in developing nations.
By Mike Miliard
12:36 PM
Gates Foundation Factom blockchain

Factom, an Austin-based technology firm that develops blockchain-based tools for data management and security, has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop secure, readily and reliably available medical records.

Using blockchain, Factom builds globally distributed records that can be accessed, irrespective of location, by any authorized person with biometric verification, the company said.

Creating medical records around an individual and securing them with the Factom blockchain solves both these problems in an affordable and practical way. Factom officials said blockchain-based medical records – accessible via smartphone – are especially useful in the developing world, enabling medical professionals to see the information they need to treat patients and coordinate care.

Individual medical records, secured by Factom's blockchain addresses, are a way to ensure uptime and access, despite the challenges of geopolitical instability and the population relocations it can cause. The Gates Foundation grant (the amount of which was not disclosed) will help Factom develop technology to serve patients in those areas.

Peter Kirby, CEO and Co-Founder of Factom told Bitcoin Magazine that blockchain's distributed data characteristics are well-suited to maintaining the privacy and security of medical records, even in environments with low rates of web connectivity.

"Our goal with this new partnership is to demonstrate how global identity and record-keeping as a public utility is possible," Kirby told Bitcoin. "We hope to show how individuals can manage important, private records like medical records using very simple tools and a lot of backend cryptography. My belief is that the blockchain will be used more and more over time for these aims."

 Protecting health data will be among the topics at the Privacy & Security Forum in Boston, Dec. 5-7, 2016. 
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