Guardtime announced a partnership with the Estonian Government’s e-Health Foundation to accelerate blockchain-based management of patient healthcare records.
Guardtime announces it will bring its Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI) technology to all levels of Estonian Government infrastructure through a frame cooperation agreement with the Estonian Information Systems Authority (RIA).
Estonia claims to be the first government in the world to have embraced the blockchain technology in its live production systems for ensuring the integrity of the records, logs and systems. Guardtime’s KSI blockchain has been continuously running since April 2008, and is purpose-built for massive-scale integrity instrumentation of any type of data at rest.
Audit Trail of a Lifetime
The announcement mentions Estonia as being at the forefront of innovation in digital society for the last 20 years and also as the only country where a majority of citizens carry a PKI smart card with access to over a thousand electronic government services. Proclaiming that electronic patient records are a critical component of these services, and Guardtime’s blockchain technology is said to enable an independent forensic-quality audit trail for the lifecycle of those records, making it impossible to manipulate information and hide what was changed.
Mike Gault, CEO of Guardtime says that Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves has repeatedly pointed out that the biggest threat in cyberspace is a lack of integrity, and in particular the integrity of patient healthcare records . Also, Gault says:
“This level of transparency and auditability is a global first and with healthcare fraud costing hundreds of billions of dollars every year, the Estonian model should provide a valuable template to dramatically reduce this fraud for the rest of the world.”
The Estonian eHealth Foundation will integrate Guardtime’s KSI blockchain into its Oracle database engine, says Guardtime. It will provide real-time visibility into the state of electronic systems and lifecycle management of patient records. KSI-instrumented records, based on hash function cryptography, will be mathematically irrefutable, says Gault.
According to Margus Auväärt, the Head of the eHealth Foundation, the unparalleled scale and frequency of the KSI blockchain provides the capability to maintain continuous real-time situational awareness into the integrity state of assets under its control, with claims that it enables immediate reaction to any incidents, before potentially larger-scale damages can occur.
Cooperation since 2011
The announcement also mentions that the Estonian government and Guardtime began a formal cooperation in 2011, when select government organizations started deploying the KSI blockchain to secure both public and internal records as well as logs to combat insider threat and indemnify the information systems operators. But under the new frame agreement, RIA will make the KSI blockchain available for all government authorities through the RIA’s X-road data exchange platform and increased investment in its existing blockchain competence center to better support public sector KSI implementations.
Taimar Peterkop, the Director General of Estonian Information Systems Authority’s statement, says:
“Ensuring the integrity of information we process and store is critical to Estonia’s eGovernance and way of life, you cannot make mistakes, and solely relying on perimeter security and goodwill of the insiders would be inexcusably naive. We need independent integrity instrumentation, both for the data, as well as for our systems, and the blockchain technology has a lot to give here."
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