Blockchain is the answer to a better health sector?

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Blockchain is the answer to a better health sector? Pexels.com

Data breaches are the nightmare of every big industry the costs following the resolution of the problem can be enormous: according to a global study conducted by IBM and Ponemon Institute in 2017 the cost of a data breach that occurred in an important company was $ 3. , $ 62 million

The health industry suffers the highest cost in terms of costs of violations, being around $ 380 for each individual patient compromised, which is 2.5 times the global average compared to other sectors.

The other major problem with health care is that it is a sector that is heavily regulated in terms of privacy and for good reason: personal health information, along with all other data (dates of birth, social security numbers , payment data, etc.) should be among the most protected information on the Plan et, according to Jack Liu, CEO of ALLIVE an intelligent health ecosystem based on blockchain technology that provides encrypted health profile, AI personal physician and complete health services.

The act of balancing accessibility to security

Patients take greater control over their health care needs and the industry responded by installing database systems ( EHR / EMR ) which hold individual health records. Patients can now access their data stored by healthcare professionals with a username and password. In addition, there is Olife – one of the three components of ALLIVE – that gives people control over their personal health data by encrypting and storing them on the blockchain. In the name of transparency this is a good thing.

At the same time, health care professionals want to be able to share information about individual patients with each other when this becomes necessary, e.g. when a patient is transferred to another institution. To this end, the US government has even provided over $ 1.2 billion of funding to health care providers working towards established patient records, so that there is a single "file" to all individual professionals have access to. This is efficient and guarantees that no conditions, medications, etc. It is neglected when the treatment protocols are implemented.

But with all this consolidation and storage in cyberspace comes the clear threat of violations. And the health industry must look at innovative and safer methods of storage and transmission. The answer may lie in blockchain technology

The promise of blockchain for the health industry

While most of the blockchain technology associated with cryptocurrency, its use for a surprising number of industries it is now being studied and implemented. Because? Because information and data are stored in immutable "blocks" that can not be changed and can not be accessed without the key codes provided to those who have authorized access to the data.

The implications for the health industry are quite clear. Here are some examples of exactly how blockchain can improve data security.

1. Recordings of immutable and traceable patients

According to Liu, "If patient records are recorded and stored in a blockchain-based system, they are safe and unalterable. Authorization to health care providers to access these records and to package new records into blocks that will become part of a patient's permanent history. "

This means that there is no longer transmission of records through traditional means – means that they let themselves go to theft. A single irresponsible employee who has left his or her computer open to a violation and who holds medical records may mean that it is possible to violate an entire database. If these records are placed in a blockchain and are not stored locally, however, this event can not occur.

2. Reduction of pharmaceutical fraud / theft

Pharmaceutical companies must monitor the movement of their drugs, especially controlled substances, from production to end points in the supply chain. When blockchain is implemented, there is a complete record of the transport of these drugs, leaving much less chance of being stolen at the transfer points. And the recipients of these drugs know exactly where they come from and how they got to their endpoints. The implications for the reduction of drug counterfeiting are clear

3. Improvement of data exchanges in clinical trials

It takes a long time before drugs receive approval – years, in reality. When studies are conducted globally, there is no method by which these studies can be collected in a single database. "Blockchain would mean that the results of clinical trials can be securely consolidated and demonstrated effectiveness," Liu said.

4. Lack of insurance fraud

Insurance fraud is a major concern and is a crime. It occurs when dishonest suppliers and patients submit requests / information to receive payable benefits. C & # 39; is billing for services not actually performed; c & # 39; is the falsification of a patient's medical condition to justify the tests; there are upcoding and kickbacks, etc. All of these things increase the costs of health insurance for everyone. For example, Medicare fraud in the United States alone costs about $ 60 billion a year .

"A blockchain environment can eliminate much of this fraud when providers and patients have to enter their information and data to be verified, registered and stored and health insurance companies must have access to that data," Liu said.

No system is infallible. But the traditional systems that are currently being used in health care are terribly lacking in the security that might be available. The stakes of security beaches are high, not only for the costs and monetary losses for operators in the sector, but for patients whose personal information is at risk. Blockchain technology is very promising for the healthcare industry and it is time for all suppliers and researchers to explore the potential.

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Blockchain is the answer to a better healthcare industry? Pexels.

Data breaches are the nightmare of every major industry: when they occur, the costs after the resolution of the problem can be huge, according to a global study conducted by IBM and Ponemon Institute, in 2017 the cost of a data breach that occurred in a large company averages $ 3.62 million.

The health sector suffers higher cost in terms of costs of the violations, being about $ 380 for each compromised patient record, which is 2.5 times the global average compared to other sectors. [19659003] The other big problem with the & # 39; Health care is that it is a heavily regulated industry in terms of privacy, and for good reason: personal health information, along with all other data it contains (birth dates, social care numbers, data from payment, etc. ) should be some of the most protected information on the planet, according to Jack Liu, CEO of ALLIVE, an intelligent health ecosystem based on blockchain technology that provides an encrypted health profile, a personal and comprehensive AI physician

Balance between accessibility and security

Patients take greater control over their health care needs and the industry responded by installing database systems (EHR / EMR) that retain individual health records. Patients can now access their data stored by healthcare professionals with a username and password. In addition, there is Olife – one of the three components of ALLIVE – that gives people control over their personal health data by encrypting and storing them on the blockchain. In the name of transparency this is a good thing.

At the same time, health care professionals want to be able to share information about individual patients with each other when this becomes necessary, e.g. when a patient is transferred to another institution. To this end, the US government has even provided over $ 1.2 billion in funds to health service providers working on consolidated patient records, so that there is a single "file" to which all individual professionals they have access. This is efficient and guarantees that no conditions, medications, etc. It is neglected when the treatment protocols are implemented.

But with all this consolidation and storage in cyberspace comes the clear threat of violations. And the health industry must look at innovative and safer methods of storage and transmission. The answer may lie in blockchain technology

The promise of blockchain for the health industry

While most of the blockchain technology associated with cryptocurrency, its use for a surprising number of industries it is now being studied and implemented. Because? Because information and data are stored in immutable "blocks" that can not be changed and can not be accessed without the key codes provided to those who have authorized access to the data.

The implications for the health industry are quite clear. Here are some examples of exactly how blockchain can improve data security.

1. Recordings of immutable and traceable patients

According to Liu, "If patient records are recorded and stored in a blockchain-based system, they are safe and unalterable. Authorization to health care providers to access these records and to package new records into blocks that will become part of a patient's permanent history. "

This means that there is no longer transmission of records through traditional means – means that they let themselves go to theft. A single irresponsible employee who has left his or her computer open to a violation and who holds medical records may mean that it is possible to violate an entire database. If these records are placed in a blockchain and are not stored locally, however, this event can not occur.

2. Reduction of pharmaceutical fraud / theft

Pharmaceutical companies must monitor the movement of their drugs, especially controlled substances, from production to end points in the supply chain. When blockchain is implemented, there is a complete record of the transport of these drugs, leaving much less chance of being stolen at the transfer points. And the recipients of these drugs know exactly where they come from and how they got to their endpoints. The implications for the reduction of drug counterfeiting are clear

3. Improvement of data exchanges in clinical trials

It takes a long time before drugs receive approval – years, in reality. When studies are conducted globally, there is no method by which these studies can be collected in a single database. "Blockchain would mean that the results of clinical trials can be securely consolidated and demonstrated effectiveness," Liu said.

4. Lack of insurance fraud

Insurance fraud is a major concern and is a crime. It occurs when dishonest suppliers and patients submit requests / information to receive payable benefits. C & # 39; is billing for services not actually performed; c & # 39; is the falsification of a patient's medical condition to justify the tests; there are upcoding and kickbacks, etc. All of these things increase the costs of health insurance for everyone. For example, Medicare fraud in the United States alone costs about $ 60 billion per year

"A blockchain environment can eliminate much of this fraud when providers and patients need to enter their information and data to be verified , registered and filed and health insurance companies must have access to such data, "said Liu.

No system is infallible. But the traditional systems that are currently being used in health care are terribly lacking in the security that might be available. The stakes of security beaches are high, not only for the costs and monetary losses for operators in the sector, but for patients whose personal information is at risk. Blockchain technology is very promising for the healthcare industry and it is time for all suppliers and researchers to explore the potential.

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