In the field of medical technology, “blockchain” is one of the most prominent buzzwords. This has a suitable alternative. Interoperability, privacy, and supply chain traceability were all major challenges in the healthcare and life sciences sectors even before the development of COVID-19. Another big issue is that private electronic health record systems from over 700 different suppliers sometimes do not communicate with one another. In 2018, we witnessed 1,750 medicine counterfeiting occurrences in the United States alone.
Patients may be properly focused on at the heart of all operations once it is fully deployed, which will be completely revamped with improved security, privacy, and accessibility. The major question does not end there. How is the healthcare business using the potential of this cutting-edge technology?
The medical industry has been adversely affected by the inability to securely share and access sensitive patient data. For genuine interoperability, however, blockchain will enable highly configurable openness while preserving only the highest security requirements. As a result, health information systems will be able to collaborate inside and beyond organisational boundaries to improve the delivery of healthcare to individuals and communities.
For example, Chronicled’s MediLedger Network uses blockchain technology to connect trading partners and medical institutions closer together than ever before. Without the continual threat of communication and organisational breakdowns, there is now considerably more freedom for innovation and industrial development. Blockchain provides a new world of trust and cooperation, from the automation of once-hectic operations to increased responsibility from all stakeholders.
- Patient-centric electronic health records
Data silos are a problem in every nation and region, which means that patients and their healthcare providers have an incomplete view of their medical history. Medical mistakes arising from poorly coordinated treatment, such as planned actions not executed as intended or errors of omission inpatient records, were the third greatest cause of mortality in the United States in 2016, according to study released by Johns Hopkins University.
- Medical staff credential verification
Blockchain technology can be used to track the experience of medical professionals in the same way that it can be used to track the provenance of a medical good. Trusted medical institutions and healthcare organisations can log the credentials of their staff, which helps to streamline the hiring process for healthcare organisations. ProCredEx, located in the United States, has created a medical credential verification system based on the R3 Corda blockchain technology.
Major advantages of blockchain system :
- During the staffing process, healthcare organisations will be able to get credentialed more quickly.
- A potential for medical institutions, insurers, and healthcare providers to earn from their present and prior employee credentials data.
- Transparency and assurance for partners, such as organisations that subcontract locum tenens or in new virtual health care models to tell patients about medical staff experience.
- IoT security for remote monitoring
One of the most significant developments in digital health is the use of remote monitoring systems, in which all types of sensors that detect patients’ vital signs are used to potentially give healthcare practitioners better visibility into patients’ health, enabling more proactive and preventative care. Many intriguing remote monitoring use cases were already explored in our articles on 5G and edge computing in digital health.
However, patient data security is a big worry in health IoT, both in terms of keeping it private and secure and preventing it from being manipulated to produce false results. In some scenarios, when a connected device may be relied on in an emergency situation, such as informing an elderly person’s caregiver that they have fallen or had a heart attack, it is equally critical that the supporting systems are highly robust to DDoS or other assaults interrupting service.
How blockchain technology might aid in the safe monitoring of IoT devices in the field:
Personal information is recorded as a unique hash function on the blockchain, and blockchain cryptography ensures that only authorized parties have access to it (any change in the source data will create a different hash function, and a user must have a specific set of cryptographic keys to decode the hash function into the source data).
It’s practically hard to tamper with patient data after it’s recorded on the blockchain ledger (as a hash function), because doing so would necessitate having access to all stored copies.
Because of the decentralized nature of blockchain, IoT devices may interact directly with each other instead of going through a centralized server (like most IoT connections do today), making DDoS and man-in-the-middle attacks extremely difficult.
- Permissed Blockchains and Smart Contracts
A Permissioned Blockchain keeps data private while making it accessible to actors on the network who have been granted access. Smart Contracts are blockchain ‘instructions’ that are automatically executed whenever all of the appropriate circumstances or events are satisfied. This implies that data may be made available without the need for human interaction.
Hashed Health leverages blockchain to provide a free and open forum for health care professionals to debate and collaborate in an effort to learn more about blockchain’s applications in the sector. The firm also has an advising division that assists healthcare businesses in understanding how blockchain might be incorporated into current systems. Finally, the firm includes a lab dedicated to developing innovative blockchain-based solutions to challenges plaguing the healthcare market.
MedRec is another healthcare-related blockchain startup. MedRec uses a peer-to-peer ledger that makes it easy for providers to monitor files and information. In addition, the service enables more direct engagement with patients. Clinicians, facilities, and large-scale systems are all linked together on a single platform, allowing for the most efficient data transfer.