The rise of distributed ledger technology, initiated and exemplified by the Bitcoin blockchain, is having an increasing impact on information technology environments in which there is an emphasis on trust and security. Management of electronic health records, where both conformation to legislative regulations and maintenance of public trust are paramount, is an area where the impact of these new technologies may be particularly beneficial. We present a system that enables fine-grained personalized control of third-party access to patients' electronic health records, allowing individuals to specify when and how their records are accessed for research purposes. The use of the smart contract based Ethereum blockchain technology to implement this system allows it to operate in a verifiably secure, trustless, and openly auditable environment, features crucial to health information systems moving forward.
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