Blockchain In Healthcare Sector
transforming the healthcare system; through its decentralized principles, blockchain can improve accessibility and security of patient information, and can therefore overturn the healthcare hierarchy and build a new system in which patients manage their own care.
In the world of healthcare today, there are two major focuses that must be addressed: data security and data ownership. Sensitive medical records currently lack a secure structure, leading to data breaches with severe consequences. Many data breaches that result in the exposure healthcare records culminates in the rise of total high per capita cost. Another concern is that patients are currently unable to have full ownership of their own medical data, a notion that is increasing in relevance with the rise of personalized medicine and wearables. Both these issues also lead to significant moral repercussions that must be resolved.
Invented in 2008 by Satoshi Nakomoto for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, the technology offers a verifiable, permanent, and attack-resistant system for recording data. Blockchain is a decentralized, distributed digital ledger that records transactions in a growing chain of immutable blocks linked by cryptographic hashes.
Mobile applications and remote monitoring machines are essential for patient care in today’s technological age. Blockchain can be applied to these technologies and improve security and quality of machinery. For example, a group of researchers created and tested an mHealth (mobile health) smart phone application for cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. The application sends patient health data to a private blockchain network. The EMRs in the network were secure and resistant to tampering after testing because of the properties of the blockchain, and the data was accessible to and controlled by the patient. Using an application such as this one, the patient can record data and send it to healthcare providers in minutes no matter the distance between the patient and the provider. Since patients can monitor their own care using this system, patients may be more attentive to their own health and well-being.
Furthermore, another mobile application, called Healthcare Data Gateway (HGD), has been presented for organization of patient data. The application uses a simple unified Indicator-Centric Schema (ICS) to organize this data, and a secure Multi-Party Computing (MPC) system, which enables third party interaction with protected healthcare data without privacy breaches and with-out authoritative power over the information. This application houses different layers of data: the storage layer, data management layer, and the data usage layer, that work together to enforce proper security and functionality of information. Additionally, improving blockchain based smart contracts may help monitoring devices operate securely. Smart contracts verify and monitor the blockchain activity. A private blockchain which is based on the Ethereum model has been developed to improve remote monitoring; in this private blockchain, sensors interact with smart devices that utilize smart contracts to record events in the blockchain.The smart contracts enable real-time patient monitoring, as important notifications are sent to patients and healthcare providers securely. Real-time updates are essential for safe care at home and enable patients to take charge of their own care while a healthcare provider is always accessible.Security concerns are associated with mobile monitoring of healthcare, as patient health information is private and sensitive. Mobile malware has destroyed blockchain in the past, and the blockchain that controls mobile applications must be completely secure before it can be used to store health information. One study investigated root exploit, the most vicious type of mobile malware, and its interactions with blockchain .
Accessing and Sharing Health Data
Blockchain technology can also be applied to the accessing and sharing of patient medical records. Medical records can be difficult to access because they are generally spread out across many different healthcare facilities, and blockchain can enable patients to have full and secure access to all of their records and medical history. A few systems based on blockchain have been proposed for organization of and access to patient medical records. MedBlock, a blockchain based information management system, enables efficient EMR access and retrieval through distributed blockchain principles.The improved consensus mechanism of this software ensures that the network is not overloaded by activity. Network overload is a concern when software such as blockchain that continues to grow over time is implemented. Moreover, MedBlock is highly secured by access control and cryptography.
Similarly, a blockchain based Data Preservation System (DPS) for medical data has been engineered.DPS uses similar data storage mechanisms and cryptographic algorithms to ensure security. A prototype of DPS has been created which is modeled after the Ethereum blockchain. Furthermore, one system, called omniPHR, places all patient health records (PHR) in one accessible place by incorporating different data sets into different blocks on the blockchain.Each block is then encrypted and the chain of blocks carrying the different pieces of one patient’s health information is fully accessible to that patient.All in all Blockchain can accelerate the gorwth of Healthcare industry.
A blockchain is a system for storing and sharing
information that is secure because of its transparency.
Each block in the chain is both its own independent
unit containing its own information, and a dependent link
in the collective chain, and this duality creates a network
regulated by participants who store and share the
information, rather than a third party.Blockchain has
many applications in healthcare, and can improve mobile
health applications, monitoring devices, sharing and
storing of electronic medical records, clinical trial data,
and insurance information storage. Research about
blockchain and healthcare is currently limited, but
blockchain is on the brink of