Blockchain comes as one of the most misunderstood phenomena in the tech world, and if you still associate it with Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, you’ll be surprised by learning how various industries use the technology to streamline their processes.
Healthcare industry is one of the early adopters of the blockchain. Medical and pharmaceutical companies’ data requires advanced security and anonymization, that’s why about 16% of healthcare providers are expected to implement the technology at scale, according to IBM latest research. They believe that blockchain will open the gates to new markets and new data, which they can securely use for their benefit. So, what are the key areas in healthcare that can make use of blockchain? Let’s take a look.
1. EHR data storage
Electronic health record systems store a patient and population health information that is gathered in the course of patients’ visits. Despite high data standards maintained by EHR, patients and medical organizations face the following issues:
- Data access. Originally, EHRs weren’t designed to be multi-institutional, that’s why all the data is scattered across the country as a patient moves from one provider to another. As a result, people have some trouble getting access to the crucial information that they need in critical situations.
- Time delay. According to the HIPPA Privacy Rule, “providers can take up to 60 days to respond (not necessarily to comply) to a request for updating or removing a record that was erroneously added.” Do you want your sensitive information to be incorrect or missed? I guess, not.
- General data sharing and retrieval processes are difficult because of software cost. True to say, some IT developers charge the exorbitant amount of money for data exchange interfaces.
That’s where blockchain comes into play to solve all of these problems. It shares the complex of health data between patients and providers without risk and records information into the virtually incorruptible cryptographic database where all sensitive data is distributed and maintained by a huge network of computers across the world (picture 1).