Prosthetic implant passport

Prosthetic implant passport

Sector: Health

Aplicación: Traceability

Empresa: Andra Mari Galdakao Lantegi Ikastetxea, Calasanz Lanbide Ikastegia, Hospital San Juan de Dios Santurtzi-BizkaiaI and Code Contract

One of the challenges facing the healthcare system is the need to have and guarantee reliable, truthful and incorruptible patient health data.   

Hospitals perform many operations that involve osteosynthesis materials (prostheses, screws, plates, etc.), medical items that have special characteristics depending on the laboratory or supplier they come from. When patients undergo an operation to implant an osteosynthesis material, they are given paper documents indicating the characteristics of the implants, and these run the risk of being lost or damaged. In addition, when patients move or are transferred to another medical centre or place of residence, the new medical team taking care of them does not know what type of material has been used and this can affect the patient’s follow-up and safety. Therefore, making this information accessible from anywhere is extremely important for both patients and practitioners. The method used today has various drawbacks in this regard (sometimes the paper is lost, it does not always go with the patient, etc.).  

Against this backdrop, two vocational training centres and a start-up from the Basque Country (Andra Mari Lantegi Ikastetxea, Calasanz Lanbide Ikastegia and Code Contract) decided to combine their respective areas of expertise to launch the Blockchain Lab 4.0. Osasun Digitala project, whose primary goal is to offer blockchain technology solutions to the healthcare sector. Andra Mari has led previous projects involving the development of blockchain nodes and servers in collaboration with Tknika (the Basque Government’s Centre for Innovation in Vocational Training) and its role in the project consists of supporting and developing the entire technical roll-out. Over the last 50 years, Calasanz Santurtzi has become one of the most well-established vocational training centres in the field of healthcare, with thousands of professionals trained in its classrooms. Code Contract is a company whose platform enables the generation of digital evidence using blockchain technology, making it possible to guarantee user identity, process certification and traceability, and information custody.  

Through this partnership, a pilot project was set up in a collaborating healthcare centre, Hospital San Juan de Dios in Santurtzi, specifically in the orthopaedic medicine service, to incorporate blockchain into the “implant passport”, a part of the hospital’s Strategic Patient Safety Plan. This solution aims to make information more accessible, secure and private for users and professionals by leveraging digital tools and the current systems and resources used by the hospital.   

Thanks to blockchain technology, prosthetic implant and surgical data can be traced together with patient data in a computerised, secure and reliable ledger. This is ideal given how crucial it is to have a single source of information – a secure database – to see the list of osteosynthesis materials that were placed in each patient for proper extraction. With the blockchain-based “implant passport”, the type of implant received can be checked at any time, in case it needs to be replaced or repaired, while maintaining the privacy of the patient’s information. The ledger also traces the materials themselves, in case they are to be reused.  

Why blockchain? 

A blockchain ledger of information on the osteosynthesis materials used in surgical interventions provides reliable information, given the immutability offered by this technology. It also allows any authorised medical centre to consult and verify the information in real time, integrating patient data with surgical information and the traceability of the materials used. The benefits include simplicity, traceability, accessibility and privacy of information, both for hospital professionals and patients.  

Materials are logged and traced using smart contracts deployed in a mixed network, in collaboration with Code Contract.   

How it works  

  • The implemented solution is automatic and complementary to the system used in the hospital. Following an analysis of the current process, a technical architecture was devised. This includes a newly developed web application (API) that connects the hospital’s systems to the external technology, so as not to duplicate work. 
  • Information is encrypted to protect the privacy of data added in each of the entries made to the blockchain ledger.
  • The actual certificate delivered to the patient on paper is logged in the blockchain, thus verifying the originality and uniqueness of the certified information.
  • Evidence with a link is generated: The patient is given a certificate containing a link to the generated evidence, where they can consult the trace of the certificate as many times as they want and from wherever they want (without the need for third party dependencies).
  • The patient has access to an interface where they can log in and view the recorded information on their prosthetic implant.