Have you ever wanted to be paid – in Bitcoin, to help save lives?
Cincinnati-based EMS SignPost is developing a system that connects EMS personnel to critical, up-to-date medical data. EMS SignPost’s parent company, EC Link Inc., has a track record of implementing Bitcoin tech in some its products. They want their new product to compensate those who help keep the system current.
Disclosure: Garrett Keirns, the author of this piece, is employed by EC Link, Inc. as an independent contractor.
The backbone of the system is an NFC embedded magnet. The magnet links to a unique – and encrypted – URL that hosts a person’s medical data. The data includes medical history, current medication, and physician and family contact information. Another important feature is the ability to upload Advanced Directive documents such as “Do No Resuscitate” orders and power of attorney paperwork that can be critical to EMS personnel during an emergency. Users can sign over administrative rights to friends and family. This feature is especially important for those who aren’t technically savvy.
Currently, the EMS SignPost system is running in a few, limited jurisdictions. However, there are plans for expansion. The target buyers are Fire Departments and municipalities. There is an annual licensing fee to cover hosting and development. The fee increases linearly based on the population of the area served. And, of course, this fee can be paid in Bitcoin as well as fiat.
The developers plan to add a bounty program that rewards contributors – in Bitcoin – to keep medical information current. The exact amount of money paid out is unclear. A proprietary algorithm is being developed to identify the most high-risk people in the system. The higher the risk – the higher the payout. The Bitcoin bounties give participants (or his/her family and friends) an incentive to maintain the system. The EMS SignPost developers expect hospital, insurance companies, and local governments to help finance this bounty program. New United States Medicare laws penalize hospitals for repeated Emergency Room visits. The new rules create an incentive to treat and diagnose problems correctly the first time.
The Bitcoin blockchain will also provide reliable time stamping to verify the integrity of documents uploaded in the EMS SignPost system. Applications like Proof of Existence demonstrate how information embeds itself into the global decentralized Bitcoin ledger. A cryptographic hash of the document latches on the blockchain. The cryptographic alphanumerical string can only be reproduced with the presence of the original file.
EMS personnel are being trained to take on a greater role in the field. This trend is especially true in rural and impoverished areas. Community Paramedicine, as it is called in North America, is the concept of equipping EMS crews with the correct tools – technological and legal – to carry out this new role.
The company plans to offer more than just refrigerator magnets for citizens using their program. They are also pioneering the use of NFC-embedded bracelets and wallet cards. To maintain HIPAA compliance in the United States, EMS SignPost developers take security seriously. Only authorized personnel can view and edit patient information. Two-factor authentication programs, already popular in the Bitcoin community, will protect accounts from unauthorized logins.
What do you think of Blockchain based EMS info and NFC capability?
Image Source: EMS Signpost