Healthcare Blockchain Technology: The Good, Bad, And Terrible

Healthcare blockchain technology is transforming the healthcare industry. Here's what to consider about the good and the bad of this development

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March 21, 2019
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There is a lot of talk about the blockchain around the healthcare sector, which has good reasons. Blockchain technology is a hot topic in countless areas: from finance and law to logistics and medicine. Blockchain has many definitions, but at a fundamental level it can be called an immutable, decentralized, and transparent transaction recording system based on a peer-to-peer network.

One can speak about blockchain technology in healthcare from the point of view of its ability to safely, confidentially and comprehensively track records about the state of health of patients. Currently, patient history in many countries around the world is a puzzle in which parts of it are distributed among several organizations. One part is often kept by primary care physicians. Others have various specialists and private doctors that a person has visited throughout his life.

The development of a blockchain can help bring all of them together in real time and form a complete picture of the patient’s state of health, which we can surely be called comprehensive and modern. Due to this, each change of patient record will be checked with other data and added to the block network in the form of the next block. As a result, the doctor can be sure that he has a complete historical picture of the patient’s history, a list of its changes over time, with an indication of data on health workers who made these changes. But can a blockchain provide privacy and security in the future?

Blockchain Ability to Resolve Cybersecurity Issues

Many of the problems we face today in the field of cybersecurity in the health care system cannot be neutralized with the help of the blockchain. For example, it can do little against intruders trying to steal patient data, especially when viewing patient records on physical devices that are not protected by encryption systems.

Fundamental changes in the health care system that blockchain technology can offer may in the future solve some of the existing problems, but not all.

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However, a blockchain can eliminate a threat that is rapidly approaching – remote network attacks. In this case, third parties may attempt to intentionally modify the data. For example, by adding or removing information about allergies to certain drugs. It is impossible to track such changes, which leads to serious problems of patient safety and institutional trust.

Blockchain technology is great for preventing such attacks. This is a good promising tool that you can use to find a solution to this problem. The blockchain allows you to see exactly what was changed, when and by whom. Contact blockchain companies to hire blockchain developers.

It is likely that there are many other areas in which the blockchain can improve privacy and security, and this is to be welcomed.

Privacy Crash Risk

Another concern that is often mentioned is how we deal with new privacy and security risks created by the universal blockchain standard. Frankly, this threat should be considered one of the worst.

Today, an epidemic of cases of violation of data on the state of health care prevails in the world, and 40% of these violations relate to subjects who already have access to medical records in one form or another. Often, they are called insiders. The problem in the health care system that makes itself felt again and again is the following:

1. It is difficult to determine who should have access to medical records due to constantly changing schedules, complex organizational structures and unclear standards for the use and storage of information. As a result, a large number of people have access to medical records about patients.

2. There is a need for instant access to information, because of the data on allergies and essential medicines can literally put the patient on the edge between life and death. This creates huge barriers to preventing widespread access to medical information.

Given this open architecture and several ways of determining what constitutes adequate or inappropriate access to databases in the health sector, a huge problem arises. In order for doctors to benefit from blockchain technology by creating databases, it must provide full access to anyone who may need confidential patient information. However, not being able to determine who should and should not see the medical details of a particular person, there is a systemic risk that will grow in proportion to the use of the blockchain.

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Creating system access keys also increases the potential risk of accessing any patient’s record. It is necessary to figure out how to better determine the degree of accessibility to the records of a particular patient, than no other health care system in the world currently deals with. Otherwise, the use of advanced analytical solutions will lead to the risk of the gradual creation of an existential threat to the reliable management of health information. Contact blockchain companies to hire blockchain developers.

What to do next?

In addition to security and privacy, there are many important problems associated with blockchain technology. All of them need to be discussed in order to identify potential opportunities and threats in various fields. In addition, it is necessary to clarify the financial and environmental costs of implementing these systems, the need for a single blockchain standard, or problems combining misdiagnosis and poor data quality that accumulate over time. All these can only exacerbate inequality among those segments of the population that already have inadequate access to medical and other services.

Many of the problems we face in the world stem from systematic asymmetries and the ineffectiveness of access to information. The open, transparent, equitable exchange of information offered by the blockchain is extremely promising in terms of the possibility of eliminating these problems and promoting new projects. However, before solving these problems in a particular area or institution, it is worth weighing everything and taking into account the maximum possible number of long-term consequences described above. Contact blockchain companies to hire blockchain developers.