An IPFS Addressable Storage Model for Healthcare with Blockchain

Peter B. Nichol | CIO | February 22, 2017

P2P file sharing is fun and easy. IPFS holds the power to create a P2P network of medical records — easy to share and access. Let’s explore three ideas that look around the corner into the future.

What to do about the problem of medical record link rot in healthcare? What is link rot? Link rot is the process by which hyperlinks on individual websites or the internet in general point to web pages, servers or other resources that have become permanently unavailable. Medical information is available, but getting access proves difficult. Getting access to your unified medical profile sits well in the line of acceptable frustration, where patients are required to collect pieces of their medical profiles sprinkled across the country.

The lack of interoperability affects patients. IPFS presents a new approach for connecting information — a potential fix for medical record link rot. BitTorrent, LimeWire (gasp), Napster, FastTrack, eDonkey, Gnutella and Vuze were among the many famous open-source peer-to-peer (P2P) clients or products supporting file sharing. BitTorrent and Gnutella enable the downloading of any files. Videos, music and software files can be swapped over the internet using these clients.

Napster was, however, a centralized model. In the case of Napster, peer computers would register with the core central server and provide their file-sharing lists. Peers sent queries to the central server, which retained a master index of all available files. The central server connected the query computer to a peer (with the requested files). The strength of this approach was that the central server always knew where the files were located, searching was fast and efficient, and the answers were guaranteed to be correct...