Researchers are striving to build transparency in healthcare through blockchain. Blockchain is capable enough to deal with serious mistakes in the healthcare technology. This up and coming technology could be a game changer in health care.
Advantages of Blockchain in Healthcare
The use of blockchain technology in healthcare does not use conventional strategies to preserve data. Blockchain preserves data through decentralized means and thus the data is unchangeable. No one is able to alter data from the database of blockchain technology and data is easily traceable.
Blockchain makes data public knowledge and transparent, since each step and transaction is saved. This becomes problematic as soon as privacy is an issue. Especially in health care people want to keep their records as private as possible. Blockchain can still be used to pass data, as long as each chain is encrypted.
Each person in a health care system would have a private key only known to each healthcare provider, that unlocks all data for a limited time. From 2009 to 2017, over 176 million data breaches occurred with respect to healthcare records. The secure features associated with the blockchain can help protect health information much better. While security measures evolve, so do hackers, which means that security breaches will never be a thing of the past. Since each person in the system has a personal key, Hackers would be limited to attacking each user individually. Thus, blockchains can provide an immutable audit trail of health information.
Healthcare providers can use blockchain technology to pass on medical data to further departments. Tracking of data is the main use of blockchain technology. Each time a doctor adds any information to a patients file, it is updated in the chain. Any further institution has full access to the data without having to do any other work. A patient changing healthcare providers would no longer have to collect their own data and pass it on. Any institution with valid interest would have access to all data needed. This allows for the seamless switching between healthdcare providers.
Faster research and patient care
Blockchain is great for creating accessible strings of data. Researchers can use this system to immediately share their findings with colleagues, who can comment and update any data. This allows for real time communication and possibly faster problem identification.
Disadvantages of Blockchain in Healthcare
Network security plays a big role in healthcare and blockchain can provide some of that. Hackers will have to attack each user individually instead of gaining access to a whole database.
Personal Data breaches
A hacker that manages to decipher an encrypted chain though, gets access to all of the personal data in that chain. Transparency could prove to be an issue in that instance. blockchain technology. This is because each person that has access to the chain, has full access to any data in the chain. Private Data might have to be stored in another way, so patients can feel safe.
The biggest argument for blockchain technology is its immutability. Doctors update the data for each of their patient quite often and sometimes even have to change data. Blockchain technology works by adding any further data to a chain of data blocks, instead of changing it. With each growth of the change, it will take longer to transfer information.
Before the widespread use of blockchain we still have to do some more research. We have to find solutions for privacy issues before implementing a new technology in a field as important as healthcare.
But a question of time
In a field as personal and important as Healthcare, it is the outmost duty of any provider to be sure about their security. Blockchain is still a new and developing technology, so it will still take some time until it is implemented. It does have many pros and few cons though, so its integration will come sooner rather than later. Blockchain will be able to ensure benefits and improve productivity.