Proposal #14: Facilitating Sharing of Medical Records

[This proposal comes from @InnominateMD. To support this proposal, sign it by clicking the like (heart) button beneath this post.]

First, I am still learning about HOPR. Second, I may not use exact language since I am a relative layperson in tech.

As I learned about HOPR and its ability to shield metadata, I immediately thought of the issue of medical records. There is a lot of metadata surrounding medical records–and especially their sharing–that HOPR can be instrumental in addressing.

  1. The size of a medical record (usually shared as a PDF) alone can tell an outside observer some information about how many visits a patient has had at a given medical site. If there are any images (such as X-rays, enteroscopy, CT scans), that would also be evident as the file size would be much larger. HOPR’s ability to split a PDF or other file types into smaller packets and scramble them would hide the size of a patient’s medical record.
  2. The types of locations that have medical records on a patient can tell an outside observer information about a patient. If a certain clinic or hospital only does one type of procedure or has one speciality, a PDF or other files sent from that site will reveal information such as “This patient has had plastic surgery” or “This patient has had a procedure related to cancer” and the like. HOPR’s ability to hide the sender is directly applicable here.
  3. The recipient of the medical records is metadata that an observer can use to learn about a patient’s medical state and, sometimes, legal state. For example, is an ER sending records to a psychiatric hospital and to a county’s social services and to an attorney? Then, that metadata will tell a knowledgeable observer that the person is possibly undergoing the commitment process. HOPR can use it’s ability to mask recipient and sender to confound an observer who wants to get metadata on a patient.
  4. Repeated sendings to/from a hospital/clinic can give metadata just due to that pattern. Is a state nursing board sending and receiving data to a specific doctor every year? An observer might realize that the nurse is under special monitoring. That might lead the observer to try to get more metadata about that nurse. HOPR again can help here.

Many clinics and hospitals use faxes, e-mailed PDFs, and DropBox-style ways of sharing records. If HOPR was able to interface with one or more of these and tout their privacy to such agencies, it would be helpful to the patient and be a source of income for HOPR. Many large agencies would have no problem absorbing a small cost per file-sharing to be able to say that they have increased security. The number of records sent and received involving hospitals and clinics must number in the tens of millions of events per year, if not more. This could be a huge area for income and a great way to show people HOPR’s core benefits. Patients might even begin to demand it of their clinic or hospital, over time.

Thank-you for reading and for your consideration.

[To view the original discussion, click here]