Walmart, the United States based retail giants are becoming well versed in the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. They are making waves in ensuring their companies products and services take a sturdy advantage of the blockchain revolution. As a result of this, Walmart seem to be creating innovative new ideas before applying for patents. They seem to want to monopolise the blockchain, whilst it may sound like a bad thing, it does at least seem that they want to do this to help their customers and therefore, perhaps a blockchain owned by Walmart might not be the worst thing. In their latest move, Walmart are alleged to have made a move to secure a patent on a blockchain based medical records solution which could be accessed by medical professionals in the case of an emergency. Within this, Walmart want to produce a device that exists on the blockchain that holds vital information regarding a patient that could be useful in the case of an emergency. Within this, medical professionals who are attending emergencies would be able to access this information, securely and in its entirety and thus will be able to help the patient more efficiently. For example, if somebody has a pre-existing heart condition and no form of identification on them, it may take paramedics longer to work out how best to treat the patient (say they are unconscious in the example). With Walmart’s technology, the paramedics could simple use a device to access the patients’ medical records in order to work out what has happened and provide a more effective treatment. According to RTT News, the device would come in a physical format and would not only use the blockchain to allow medical staff to access the information, it would use high level cryptography to secure the patients’ medical information too, according to RTT News:
“An encrypted private key and a public key associated with the patient stored on a wearable device of the patient, in response to a scanning of the wearable device of the patient using a RFID scanner during an emergency.”Moreover:
“The encrypted private key is decrypted by a biometric signature of the patient, by obtaining the biometric signature of the patient by scanning face, retina, iris, fingerprint, etc. This enables the first responder to gain access to the medical records of the patient, using a combination of the public key and the private key associated with the patient, to access a local storage medium of the wearable device.”You can see the full article by RTT News for yourself, here- http://www.rttnews.com/story.aspx?Id=2906003 This provides an excellent example for the future of blockchain technology and how it could integrate with medical professions. Of course, it would be pretty strange for a retail giant like Walmart to develop this, but I guess they have realised there could be a lot of money made within this technology, hence the patent. All in all, the implications of this technology is that it really could help to save lives, so, with this in mind, does it really matter who’s behind its development?