The modern healthcare system is necessarily a set of dependent and independent institutions. Because of its mission-critical nature, the system’s evolution involves a lot of ad-hoc changes. While blockchainA Blockchain computing system treats the Blockchain as a secure computation platform that can be shared among multiple vendors. technology was initially developed to support the exchange of bitcoinA Cryptocurrency address is used to receive and send transactions on the network. An address is most commonly represented as a string of alphanumeric characters and sometimes referred to as wallets. Addresses can also be represented as a scannable QR code. and crypto-currencies, it’s decentralized, distributed ledgerAn Attestation Ledger is a distributed ledger providing a durable record of agreements. It can also be expanded to include commitments or statements in so far that it provides evidence that these agreements, commitments or statements were made. of digital events also offers many appealing possibilities to the healthcare industry. A study from IBM reveals that around 16 percent of healthcare executives are aiming to implement a commercial solution this year, the count of which is expected to rise to 56 percent by the end of 2020.

The blockchainA Blockchain computing system treats the Blockchain as a secure computation platform that can be shared among multiple vendors. revolution has made its way to the healthcare industry, and it’s only the beginning of what’s possible. The overall vision for blockchainA Blockchain computing system treats the Blockchain as a secure computation platform that can be shared among multiple vendors. to disrupt healthcare in the future would be to solve many issues that plague the industry today, to create a shared database of health information that doctors and providers could access no matter what electronic medical system they used. Higher security and privacy, less admin time for doctors, so there’s more time to spend on patient care, and even better sharing of research results to facilitate new drug and treatment therapies for the disease. Health device manufacturers, services, and organizations currently store all the health data they handle in their centralized servers. This burdens them with the responsibility to secure all that information.Not all of them fulfill that responsibility appropriately.

Centralized data stores give cybercriminals attractive targets to attack. By breaking into a single system, they’ll find access to the sensitive information of millions of users. In parallel to the centralized problem, the current health tech landscape suffers from fragmentation of data. The health data of each user is scattered across the servers of dozens of services, which means no user has a consolidated picture of their data.

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clinical blockchain infographic

The healthcare industry’s problem isn’t that it’s centralized, but instead that it’s centralized in the wrong way. Everything revolves around services, companies, and applications, which is the reason why there are so much data redundancy and confusion, and why there are stores of data that can prove valuable to malicious actors. Although there are some incredibly exciting ways blockchains can enhance healthcare operations, it won’t be a cure-all for the industry today, but it would indeed be a step in the right direction. The architecture for the technology has components that facilitate faster, seamless interoperability between systems.

Other advantages include scalability according to demand, disaster recovery, data encryption and cryptography technologies and built-in fault tolerance – the perfect ingredients for indelible healthcare IT experience. The application of healthcare blockchainA Blockchain computing system treats the Blockchain as a secure computation platform that can be shared among multiple vendors. is still in early stages of development, but is envisioned to solve the following challenges:

Data Privacy

The goal of HIPAA is to keep personally identifiable information (PII) and personal health information (PHIPersonalised medicine is tailored to the individual patient based on their predicted response or risk of disease. Advances in the personalization of medicine have coincided with advancements in gene sequencing and biologics.) private and secure. HIPAA limits how and under what circumstances this data may be used without patient authorization. A blockchainA Blockchain computing system treats the Blockchain as a secure computation platform that can be shared among multiple vendors. solution could assist with HIPAA compliance by segregating and encrypting patient identity, PII and PHIPersonalised medicine is tailored to the individual patient based on their predicted response or risk of disease. Advances in the personalization of medicine have coincided with advancements in gene sequencing and biologics. into discrete units, accessible at any time by those who have authorization to do so.
In addition, blockchains are an ideal platform for regulatory compliance because they establish a trusted audit trail that can be verified in real-time. Blockchains don’t merely track compliance; they also streamline enforcement and discourage fraudulent behavior from the beginning.

Medical Data Management

Because blockchainA Blockchain computing system treats the Blockchain as a secure computation platform that can be shared among multiple vendors. can simplify the exchange of data across authorized parties, it can be applied in healthcare to enhance the management of electronic health recordsPrecision medicine is the emerging field of medical treatment that addresses disease and physical ailments at the molecular level- meaning treatment plans and procedures are more often than not tailored to a patients genetic code. Overall, precision medicine encompasses areas such as clinical informatics, electronic health records, clinical trials, public health informatics to improve the outcome of patient care. It utilizes advanced technologies such as biomarkers and translational bioinformatics as key component to execute intended care models.  ... More (EHRs). Current health information exchanges (HIEs) are hampered by a number of technology issues, including the need for an intermediary trust network, data interoperability issues and inconsistent rules and permissions.

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These issues prevent the safe transfer and sharing of data. However, it is now possible for healthcare organizations to build blockchains based on data pulled from existing databases, creating a complete data picture and single source of truth.
This paves the way for an HIE that is patient-mediated. Patients would be the owners of their own data, accessible to each individual via the blockchainA Blockchain computing system treats the Blockchain as a secure computation platform that can be shared among multiple vendors. private keyQuantum key distribution (QKD) uses quantum mechanics to secure a communication channel. It enables two different parties to develop a shared random secret key known only to them, which can then be used to encrypt and decrypt messages. What makes quantum key distribution unique is its ability to enable the two communicating users to detect unwanted attempts at trying to gain knowledge of the key. This ability is supported by a fundamental aspect of quantum mechanics: the process of measuring a quantum system in general disturbs the system. If an attacker is trying to eavesdrop on the key, the attacker must in some way measure it, thus introducing detectable anomalies.... More mechanisms. Patients could share this data with whomever they choose within their healthcare team. This would give patients and the caregivers of their choice a longitudinal history of their health.

Billing Management

While complex billing procedures can lead to unintentional inaccuracies, intentional medical billing fraud is a serious issue. In July 2017, a MedicareComposite Health Care System II (CHCS II) is the U.S. Department of defense Health Record System. fraud task force charged more than 400 people, including dozens of doctors, with defrauding the government of $1.3 billion. Current processes are incapable of detecting all instances of fraud. Blockchain’s security and auditability make it an ideal choice for claims adjudication and payments processing, as well.

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Medical Research

Blockchain can assist with clinical trial data. The COMPare Trials Project found that out of 67 trials they examined, only nine were correctly reported; 354 outcomes were not reported, and 357 new outcomes were silently added. This casts doubt upon the accuracy of medical information derived from clinical trials and the resulting care that patients receive.To create transparency and trust, those conducting clinical trials could use blockchainA Blockchain computing system treats the Blockchain as a secure computation platform that can be shared among multiple vendors. to record and time-stamp each event in the trial’s protocol. This would prevent selective reporting, ensuring that reporting of trials is correct and not “spun” to achieve a desired outcome.

Utilization of this technology in this manner will engage millions of individuals, health care entities, medical researchers, health care provides to share vast amounts of data released to every aspect of life with guaranteed privacy protection and security. This event could lead to precision medicinePrecision medicine is the emerging field of medical treatment that addresses disease and physical ailments at the molecular level- meaning treatment plans and procedures are more often than not tailored to a patients genetic code. Overall, precision medicine encompasses areas such as clinical informatics, electronic health records, clinical trials, public health informatics to improve the outcome of patient care. It utilizes advanced technologies such as biomarkers and translational bioinformatics as key component to execute intended care models.  ... More and advancement of medical research to pave the way for improved health and timely prevention of diseases.

BlockchainA Blockchain computing system treats the Blockchain as a secure computation platform that can be shared among multiple vendors. is still a nascent technology and we have yet to see the extents and limits of its possibilities. But it clearly shows promise to be the infrastructure needed to protect and leverage the reams of health data that we’re generating.

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Akash Takyar on Linkedin
Akash Takyar
Akash Takyar
Co-Founder at LeewayHertz
Akash is a technical architect, blockchain enthusiast, a user experience designer and has experience of building over 100 digital platforms for Startups or Fortune 500 companies and used by millions. Akash founded LeewayHertz, which is a global technology service company specialized in Blockchain and Artificial intelligence. Akash has been a technology consulted for companies like 3M, Siemens and Hershey’s.
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