DataBeers Barcelona: The Old Lady and the Blockchain (video)



Let me introduce you to Anna. She is the kindest, most loving person I have ever met. She lives in Paris. She is 72 and she has 3 beautiful grandchildren.

She’s not doing too bad for someone in her 70ies. She has had some heart problems but nothing too severe. She hopes to live long enough to marry all her grandkids.


Unfortunately, Anna will never see her dream come true. She is not among us anymore. She was killed.


On July 20th 2014, after spending the whole day gardening, Anna started feeling unwell. She called her children that took her straight to the hospital. The news were not good: Anna was suffering from heart failure and needed a pacemaker. The surgeons took her to the OR and successfully performed the surgery. Anna recovered spectacularly well and the medical team was very excited to tell her that she could leave hospital in just a couple of day.


On the 2nd of August 2014, just 2 days before going back home, Anna developed a urinary disease. This is quite common so no one got particularly worried. She was given amoxicillin which is the standard medication in this type of case.


One detail however escaped the medical team: Anna was severely allergic to the treatment. That day, she died of an anaphylactic shock.


Unfortunately, these things happen. But if I am telling you this story today it is because this is not just the tragic story of an old lady. Why? Because in Anna’s medical record was a clear note stating that she was severely allergic to penicillin. But no one really payed attention. And nothing was done to prevent this from happening.


Now let’s go back in time a little bit to that day of July when Anna started feeling unwell. Let me walk to you through what could have happened if we had used some simple tools.


On July 20th 2014, after spending the whole day gardening, Anna started feeling unwell. Her children called an ambulance to take her to the hospital. When the medical team arrived, they scanned Anna’s bracelet containing her Public Medical ID.


The first time Anna sign up to this system she was asked to name the individuals that were able to access her medical records. She included in this list the emergency medical team. In a matter of seconds, they were therefore able to access all her information, such as her allergies.


When Anna arrived at the hospital, the doctors that took her case also scanned the Public Medical ID, to retrieve the medical records. A big red warning appeared on the screen notifying them of Anna’s allergies. The message was broadcasted to the whole team that was going to take care of Anna.


Since the doctors were all able to access the full medical records rapidly, they were all notified of the allergy and no one prescribed any amoxicillin. Instead they gave Anna another antibiotic she was not allergic to. The nurses administered the product and Anna was cured in a matter of days.

Here is Anna at her grandson’s wedding.


This system I have just described is possible with blockchain technology. And because we all want to save lives like Anna’s, we must get to the conclusion that blockchain is not an option in healthcare anymore. It is a need.



Share This:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *