Health News

Manhattan hospital to use blockchain for Chron’s patient care


New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital and Open Health Network are collaborating for a blockchain-based healthcare platform for patients suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Called GRItT-Pro, it is a digital replacement of a manual system implemented by Mount Sinai to enable co-ordination within teams treating patients with IBD.

Mount Sinai was one of the early hospitals to explore blockchain when it set up the Center for Biomedical Blockchain Research two years ago.

The manual system currently used, Gaining Resilience through Transitions (GRItTTM), provides a customized care plan. The plan is developed by practitioners from medical, nursing, pharmacy, social, child life, nutritional and psychological disciplines. The goal is to increase the resilience of patients through different tools and prevent a flare up related to IBD. 

Leveraging the blockchain solution from Open Health Network, Mount Sinai will enable seamless information exchange between care providers.

IBD is a term used specifically for two digestive illnesses, Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The conditions are chronic, and at times may result in life-threatening situations. The best treatment, apart from medication, is making lifestyle changes that require long term care. 

The GRItT-Pro tool provides a dashboard where caregivers can view all information regarding a patient. This allows them to study the particular condition faced by a patient and suggest care routines. A primary concern with using a digital-only system is the patient data privacy, which Open Health says its solution addresses. 

While the existing system enables greater co-ordination for care, it is paper-based, manual, and slow in communication. Now, a pilot of the caregiver side of the GRITT blockchain is in initial clinical testing, and a patient side portal will soon be created. The platform was built from scratch within two months, hinting at the low cost of development. 

“Having a digital provider communication tool for use while the team is all working remotely (due to COVID-19) has been critical to our continued ability to provide high quality care to our IBD patients,” said Laurie Keefer, PhD, health psychologist at Mount Sinai’s Susan and Leonard Feinstein IBD Clinical Center.

The solution integrates with Mount Sinai’s Telehealth services, as many IBD patients are reluctant to leave their homes during a flare-up. In this situation, providing remote care becomes possible using the blockchain platform and is also beneficial in the current scenario of the COVID-19 pandemic. Apart from IBD, the platform could potentially be used to handle other chronic conditions that require long-term care. 

Founded in 2013, Open Health Network uses blockchain, AI, and big data to develop health applications for patients, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders. The company has another solution called PatientSphere, which enables users to control and monetize their health data.