A new patent detailing a blockchain-based, biometric healthcare system has been awarded to Walmart, of all companies.
Entitled, “Obtaining a Medical Record Stored on a Blockchain from a Wearable Device”, the patent describes a system designed to let emergency first responders access the health records of an individual who is incapacitated. The patient’s health records would be stored in a blockchain ledger and on a wearable device such as a bracelet. First responders who need to access that information would use another device to perform a biometric scan of the patient – using facial, fingerprint, iris, or retina recognition – and would use an RFID scanner to scan the wearable device. Those scans would unlock the patient’s blockchain-stored medical records, allowing paramedics quick access to important information when the patient is unable to communicate.
It’s a cutting-edge system, and one that builds on a growing trend toward biometric patient identification and records management. But it isn’t clear why Walmart, a giant retailer, would go after such an IP holding. In terms of excitement about blockchain, the corporate behemoth was ahead of the curve, filing its patent way back in December 14, 2016. And it’s still at the vanguard with respect to biometric patient identification, which remains a niche, if accelerating, phenomenon.
The patent was officially awarded to Walmart on June 14th.