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It’s time to give people control of their health data through blockchain

While the value of connected health data is widely recognised, it is often not leveraged to its full potential due to authenticity, availability and privacy concerns. Trust is a vital requirement in order for health data to provide the greatest benefit to individuals, families and our global society.

This is the challenge that Nokia is addressing through its blockchain platform, which aims to be the vehicle for users to share their data with confidence.

Last month, Nokia and OP Financial Group started a pilot to explore new opportunities in the rising field of Digital Health, with the aim of giving people more control over their personal health data – how it is shared, who can access it, and how it can be used – with a focus on privacy and security offered by blockchain technologies.

With an initial number of 100 participants, this is the first pilot in a broader collaboration in which the two Finnish companies are exploring the intersection of technology, health, and insurance, to help the human family be healthier together.

Blockchain technology in a nutshell

Blockchain technology offers, in essence, a distributed data record that is maintained by several parties that may have competing interests. This is different from the usual centralized services, in which personal data is maintained by a single company, such as Facebook, Google, Dropbox, etc.

Nokia’s experimental blockchain platform used in the pilot puts the focus on privacy and giving users full control over their data.

To achieve this, any data that the users decide to share are encrypted, and can only be read by the intended participant on the platform — in this case OP. The decision of the user to share their data, together with proof of authenticity of the data coming from a valid device (in this case the Nokia Steel HR) is what would become visible to the rest of participating organizations.

Nokia pilot with OP Financial Group

In the current pilot1, users are rewarded for sharing data coming from their Nokia wearable devices in order to explore the possibilities of incentive models, such as smart health insurances and work health programs for promoting healthy living.

More specifically, participants’ daily steps and sleep hours are shared through the pilot’s app, leaving a trustworthy, yet privacy-preserving footprint on the blockchain. Based on this, OP automatically rewards the users with points depending on how they have done towards their fitness goals.

Kristian Luoma, Head of OP Lab at OP Financial Group, shares: “We’re excited about the collaboration with Nokia. It is great to see Blockchain applied to something that needs trust, like in this our pilot we’re joining forces. This pilot is quite literally a prime example of the technologies we’ll use in the future, combined innovatively to create value.”

Providing personal advice on health data, as well as extracting useful insights on global health issues will only become possible with trust from users. Nokia’s blockchain platform addresses these issues by design. We expect this collaboration with OP to be a step towards a global digital health ecosystem that benefits both individuals and society.

Hope to see you this week at SLUSH Helsinki 2017

Welcome to the OP booth at Slush 2017 to learn more about the Sleepchain project and other Nokia health and technology innovations in Hall 7B – like OZO Audio, Nokia Health Innovations in Remote Patient Care, Nokia Health Observatory, as well as our popular digital health products and Nokia branded phones.

Didn’t know we’re so into eHeath!? Learn more on our Nokia Digital Health website and visit our Nokia Health Store.

Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks using #eHealth #HealthierTogether #partnering

1The blockchain pilot is the result of a joint effort of Nokia’s Digital Trust Team including Karina Palyutina, Edward Fitzgerald, Troels Roennow, and Enrique Martin-Lopez.

Enrique Martin-Lopez

About Enrique Martin-Lopez

Enrique is a Senior Researcher at the Advanced Research Lab in Cambridge, UK. He joined Nokia in December 2014 as a continuation of his research on Quantum Computation and Quantum Cryptography. Putting his PhD in Physics to good use, Enrique is currently working on Blockchain technology, Machine Learning and identifying fields that can benefit from decentralized consensus algorithms.

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