Preventative medicine is one of the most effective ways to lower healthcare costs, but doing this is often easier said than done. For the over 117 million Americans diagnosed with one or more chronic health conditions, there’s a hidden cost that goes beyond the physical: skyrocketing healthcare costs for everyone. In general, the cost to stay healthy through exercise, a balanced diet, and addressing health risks early is much lower than the cost to actually treat most chronic conditions.

There are too many Americans who don’t fully understand their health needs, and this is partly because access to critical health information is poor in many cases.

Most people don’t know what’s in their medical records, and some probably aren’t aware they have the right to see it whenever they choose. This is because whether medical records are physical or digitized, they’re usually only available to care providers, like nurses, therapists, doctors, and specialists. Patients typically can only view their medical records in-office, which doesn’t do them much good if they don’t have the medical background to understand what they’re reading.

Alternatively, there’s a lot of health data consumers are recording themselves via smart wearables and internet-connected health devices like scales. These devices track many vitals with increasingly good accuracy, and most consumers are able to view their health data with the same ease as opening a text message. Unfortunately, this valuable data isn’t available to the care providers who can use it to offer less expensive and more effective care.

Empowering Patients and Their Providers

To bridge the health data gap, the founders of Patientory saw the divide as an opportunity to use both their healthcare and blockchain expertise for a singular goal: better medical care. The Patientory app syncs digital medical records across devices so they’re available to users wherever they go. Patients can view their doctor’s progress notes right after a checkup on their phones. After tracking a workout on a wearable, users can securely share their vitals with a provider, who can view them on a desktop or tablet. This level of instant communication between patient and provider can foster more accurate diagnoses and treatments for every user within the healthcare network.

Keeping Private Medical Information Actually Private

One of the most future-facing aspects of the Affordable Care Act is that it regulates how providers legally must store and transfer data. Since patients need to know their private medical records will be safe to trust storing them electronically, Patientory employs world-class blockchain technology to secure medical data above and beyond the ACA’s requirement. Fully HIPPA-compliant, the high-level of encryption ensures only those authorized to health data can access it.

Connecting Patients for Good

For many with newly diagnosed chronic conditions, getting support from others struggling with similar issues builds hope and prepares them for what to expect. To help connect patients with questions to the answers they seek, Patientory has built a social community feature designed specifically for individuals with chronic conditions. Patients with high blood pressure, for example, can ask questions about adopting a healthier lifestyle and get answers from other hypertensive individuals. Patients and their loved ones can reach out and get support from others who have undergone a similar experience, which can be a godsend when it comes to grappling with the shock of a surprise diagnosis.

To fight the feeling of powerlessness many experience when it comes to managing their health, Patientory is providing patients more control and access to their medical records to make getting healthier easier.  While medical records may be an unconventional way to apply blockchain technology, Patientory is proving the technology can not only save time and money but potentially save lives as well.

Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.