The technology is ready, and it is time to put this data literally and figuratively into patients’ hands.
In the re-opening of regional and global travel, the portability of a trusted set of personal medical information between health systems and electronic health records (EHR) is the holy grail of medical documentation. Now, the technology is ready, and it is time to put this data literally and figuratively into patients’ hands.
The first potential application is COVID vaccination status. MedCreds is an Open Source and Open Standards medical digital wallet in which a person can securely hold information about their identity and their vaccination digitally in a private but infinitely shareable way through an encrypted mobile application or website. Proof Market contributed the MedCreds application source code to Linux Foundation Public Health to develop towards this goal with the community in open source and with open standards. The technology is being used in production today. Future partnerships and collaboration could lead to an expansion of this early use to broad acceptance.
As an example, imagine a Jamaican vacation: with this technology, a person could securely share their vaccination status with the airline and at the Jamaican immigration desk as easily as scanning a boarding pass. While in Jamaica, if they fall while ziplining, they could scan the same code and provide their vaccination status with the local clinic. Upon returning home, they could once again share their vaccination status for seamless travel and entry in the United States.
This doesn’t have to stop at vaccination status. This same secure system could also be holding other valuable information without sacrificing privacy. For example, the clinic in Jamaica could be able to get critical treatment data, such as allergies and medications, improving their ability to treat.
Currently, no consistent, reliable, and secure way to share critical medical information unless someone stays within one EHR. Getting care from a doctor outside of that EHR network, going to an emergency room, or even trying to deal with an emergency abroad are opportunities for medical errors. Every one of these pivotal medical interactions could be made safer and more efficient if the correct patient information was easily available and accessible in a trusted and verifiable format. That is the seamless, secure (and encrypted from end to end) solution open-source standards offer.
Open source development can make this vision of a global health ecosystem a reality by facilitating shared standards and a high level of interoperability between systems. If we work to solve these problems as a community, in an open way, we can consolidate resources toward a shared goal. We can make the leap from COVID status to allergies and medications to complete medical records, but only if we work together.