Blockchain & Healthcare

Medicine is currently one of the fields where countries invest most of their GDP. However, hospital costs continue to rise along with data breaches.

This is where blockchain technology can improve the situation. You can do many things, from providing secure encryption of patient information to managing outbreaks.

The advantages of blockchain technology are several, such as its tamper-proof nature or its decentralized nature of digital ledgers and the inability to change a subsequently published transaction within the user community that shares the ledger.

But the benefits of using blockchains relative to traditional healthcare database management systems go further; They include decentralized administration, immutable databases, data origin, traceable data, robust data, availability of data for any authorized user, keeping them out of the reach of unauthorized users, through encryption that depends on the patient's private key.

In short, greater security of the network infrastructure at all levels, identity verification and authentication of all participants, uniform authorization patterns to access electronic health information.

Regarding Research, another area in which it is relevant, Blockchain plays an important role. Today, electronic health records allow the automatic updating and sharing of medical information about a given patient within one organization or network of organizations only. This could be extended if the information were organized in such a way that a set of information at the top layer of the blockchain allows researchers and other organizations to access this broad spectrum of data, with data from hundreds of thousands of patients. The availability of such massive amounts of data would greatly promote clinical research, the reporting and identification of adverse and safety events, and public health reporting.

This, in turn, will allow individual patients to easily unlock and share their health data with other providers or organizations, via a private key that can be shared. This could help make health information technology interoperable and collaborative between different users.

Other advantages:

Faster, cheaper and better patient care. Blockchain can create a single system for constantly updated and stored health records so that authorized users can retrieve them safely and quickly. By avoiding miscommunication between different healthcare professionals involved in caring for the same patient, countless errors can be prevented, faster diagnoses and interventions can be made possible, and care can be personalized for each patient.

Data security. The secure features associated with the blockchain can help protect health information much better. Each individual has an identifier or public key and a private key, which can be unlocked only for the necessary period.

Furthermore, hacking would be limited by the need to attack each user individually to obtain private information. Thus, blockchains can provide an immutable audit trail of health information.

Mobile health applications and remote monitoring. Mobile health apps are becoming more important. In this context, it was found that electronic medical records are kept secure on a blockchain network, and the data can be sent to medical personnel quickly, as well as being available for self-monitoring and home care.

Track and secure medical supplies. Blockchain can help secure and identify the trail of pharmaceutical supplies with full transparency. It can even provide tracking of the labor costs and carbon emissions involved in manufacturing these supplies.

Monitoring of diseases and outbreaks. The unique capabilities of blockchain can aid real-time disease notification and exploration of disease patterns that can help identify their origin and transmission parameters.

Safeguard genomics. Genomic data theft has become a major problem. Blockchain can prevent this and even provide an online marketplace where scientists can purchase genomic information for research purposes. This could promote safe selling and eliminate costly middlemen.

Blockchain technology creates unique opportunities to reduce complexity, enable transparent collaboration, and create secure and immutable information. Its applications are at an early stage in medical care but in the not too distant future we will see how its use increases.

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