The healthcare sector has been rapidly adopting technology to improve internal processes and enhance patient care.
One such technology making waves is blockchain.
Blockchain, a decentralized digital ledger system, offers unique benefits for managing healthcare data, including security, transparency, and accountability.
Securing Healthcare Data with Blockchain
In the wake of increasing data breaches in the sector, securing sensitive patient information is a top priority.
In the United States during the year 2023, approximately 87 million individuals experienced data breaches as reported by Atlas VPN.
Traditional data management methods in healthcare often create silos, making it challenging to connect and share information efficiently between stakeholders.
Blockchain solves this issue by enabling secure, encrypted data sharing across a decentralized network.
The Verida Network is the first self-sovereign database network for storing private data.
The Verida Network is decentralized public infrastructure #DePIN providing secure and private database infrastructure for users to own and control their private data.
— Verida 💜 (@Verida_io) January 3, 2024
Amber Hartley, CSO at BurstIQ, explained that their platform combines blockchain with machine learning and privacy-enhancing technology to create “smart data.” This approach adds layers of security and trust directly into the data, making it more difficult for unauthorized users to access or manipulate.
Transparent and Accountable Healthcare Data
Transparency is made possible within a trustless framework through the decentralization inherent in blockchain technology, according to Kurt Nielsen, President at Partisia Blockchain.
This feature is crucial for maintaining the integrity and accuracy of healthcare data.
For example, blockchain technology can be used to maintain an unalterable record of medication supply chains, ensuring authenticity and reducing counterfeit medicines.
Another application is managing patient records.
Blockchain provides the ability for patients to control their identity and data. When coupled with smart consent contracts, it allows a patient to grant access to some or all of their information.
She further mentioned that utilizing blockchain allows for secure multi-party computation (MPC), allowing parties to collectively analyze data without disclosing their individual inputs.
By storing encrypted data on a decentralized network, patients have more control over their information and can grant access as needed. This approach also streamlines the sharing of medical records between healthcare providers, enhancing coordinated care.
Kurt Nielsen, who serves as the President of the Board at Partisia Blockchain, a platform facilitating advanced MPC for public blockchain networks, emphasized that MPC plays a crucial role in establishing trust within a system designed to operate without inherent trust.
Nielsen also highlighted Partisia’s ongoing efforts in developing a data management solution that utilizes MPC alongside private patient healthcare data provided by Verida.
He described the Partisia blockchain as a network dedicated to privacy-preserving computations, requiring access to private data. Nielsen pointed out that the Verida Wallet and Verida Network serve as gateways for providing private user data to the Partisia blockchain, enabling novel applications of privacy-preserving data processing.
The Verida Network, touted as the inaugural self-sovereign database network for storing private data, operates as a decentralized public infrastructure (DePIN). It ensures a secure and private database infrastructure, allowing users to own and manage their private data.
Nielsen provided an illustrative example, explaining that patients could potentially utilize the Verida Wallet to retrieve their healthcare or fitness activity tracking data from various third-party systems. Verida CEO Chris Were emphasized that such datasets are securely stored and encrypted on the Verida Network, ensuring exclusive access by the respective user.
Nielsen further elaborated on the possibilities, suggesting that a healthcare research organization could develop an application to request and process verified, anonymous healthcare data for research purposes.
IoT and Blockchain in Healthcare Data Management
Internet of Things (IoT) devices are increasingly being used in healthcare to monitor patients remotely and automate processes.
When combined with blockchain technology, these devices can provide secure, encrypted data transmission while ensuring transparency and accountability. This integration offers benefits such as real-time monitoring, automated billing, and improved patient outcomes.
For instance, a patient’s IoT device could send encrypted data to their healthcare provider in real-time, allowing for proactive interventions based on the information.
As technology continues to transform the healthcare sector, blockchain is poised to make a significant impact. Its unique features, such as security, transparency, and accountability, make it an ideal solution for managing sensitive data in a complex and regulated industry.
The combination of blockchain and IoT devices can streamline processes, enhance coordinated care, and provide patients with greater control over their information.
With ongoing advancements in this space, the future of healthcare data management looks promisingly efficient and secure.