Accessing Medical Records Anywhere — A Use Case for Verifiable Credentials
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from this COVID pandemic, it’s the importance of good health and the need to stay on top of our medical records at all times.
Whether it’s our vaccinations, prescriptions, medical tests, conditions, or even a history of doctor visits, keeping this information readily accessible has become imperative now than ever before.
At the same time, this is easier said than done as our medical records are all over the place (literally!). You’ll know this pain if you’ve moved from one state/country to another in the last few years because the medical records are stored only in the institution or physician’s office where it is generated. Though these are done partly to preserve privacy, transferring or giving access to these records is a whole different story altogether!
But all this can change with Verifiable Credentials and Self-Sovereign Identities (SSI).
For starters, verifiable credentials are a secure and accessible way to share your medical records with whomever you want.
So, how do VCs work? How can you keep all your records in one place and share them within seconds to just those you want?
Let’s understand with a possible real-life scenario.
Real-world Use Case
Lisa is on a business trip to London, and she suddenly feels dizzy and nauseous. The same night, she develops a high fever and decides to visit a nearby clinic. Now, the doctor suspects it to be a case of food poisoning and wants to know her medical history and pre-existing conditions before prescribing a medicine.
To give this information, Lisa simply logs into her wallet, creates a verifiable presentation of the medical records that the doctor wants, and shares it with the doctor. After looking at the records, the doctor finds that she is allergic to sulfide and prescribes a mild dose of antibiotics.
Soon, Lisa gets well and is back to work!
Sounds simple and quick, right? What went on in the background that made it so easy for Lisa to share her medical records within seconds?
That’s the magic of VCs, and here’s how it works.
As with all VCs, three parties are involved and they are:
- Issuer — Lisa’s primary care physician’s office
- Holder — Lisa
- Verifier — The doctor’s clinic in London
As a first step, Lisa logs into her doctor’s clinic and submits a request for VC. The primary care physician’s office checks Lisa’s immunization status and her history of allergies, and accordingly, issues the verifiable credentials in the form of a QR code with the results of those checks. Lisa scans this code and saves it in her wallet.
Next, she receives a Credential Share Request from the doctor’s clinic in London and approves it to share a Verifiable Presentation containing her medical history to the doctor’s office in London. The receptionist at the office logs into the admin account, verifies the credentials, and notifies the doctor of allergies and pre-existing conditions. That’s it, really!
If you notice, this workflow doesn’t involve any third-party to store your medical data and this also means no worry about medical data storage policies and the laws associated with it. The holder completely owns his or her medical data and stores it exclusively in his or her digital wallet, thereby making it secure and hassle-free.
Also, these VCs are secure, tamper-proof, and authentic information that can be quickly shared with anyone you want. Such streamlined access is sure to transform the way we create and handle our Personally Identifiable Information. And undoubtedly, it’s our future!
Are you ready for it?
Affinidi provides building blocks for an open and interoperable Self-Sovereign Identity ecosystem. Check out our developer portal for more information.