How blockchain technology could help key data challenges

Bitcoin. Ethereum. Cryptocurrency. Most people believe that these terms have absolutely no relevance to health care today. However, the underlying technology of cryptocurrency is slowly becoming relevant to health care in an unexpected way.

Blockchain technology is currently known to protect cryptocurrency transactions. With adaptations, it may soon be used to keep personal health information safer and safer, as the name suggests, more than ever.

The current model for data storage is to keep data stored in one place. For example, a Microsoft Word document is saved to a desktop. While access to this document can be done via the server, even remotely, it is still saved in a single centralized location. Blockchain is, without a doubt, the exact opposite.

The data is stored as the "block" of the technology. The blockchain, in its entirety, is an encrypted ledger that is replicated throughout the database. The data (block) is decentralized through this replica. In other words, it is not saved in a single place, but instead exists across all the blocks in the network. Although the ledger exists in a public space, a private key is needed to access a specific block: it allows you to distribute data, but not to copy it. This data storage mode protects information from ransomware and hacking attacks by requiring an attacker to simultaneously violate and influence each block in order to produce damage rather than corrupting or stealing a single document in the current centralized storage version of data. [19659005Francamentel'attualemetododiarchiviazionedicartelleclinicheelettronicheeinformazionisanitarieprivateèinadeguatoallalucedell'attaccodihackerransomwaremoltocapaciediospedalitecnologicamentedanneggiatiL'incubodiinteriospedalichevengonobloccatidailoroarchivielettroniciavvienepiùspessodiquantovorremmoammettereAffinchéleinformazionisullasaluteprivatarimanganobehprivatelanuovatecnologiacomelablockchaindovràcrescereediffondersirapidamenteinmodoeconomicamenteefficace

The HIPAA security rule establishes national standards to protect electronic persons personal health information that is created, received, used or operated by a & # 39 covered entity. The security standard requires adequate administrative, physical and technical safeguards to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and security of electronically protected health information. It is the responsibility of the entities to create and implement their own security procedures and methods of protection.

Of the $ 10 million paid in the HIPAA violations last year, over $ 8 million in fines have been linked to issues related to protected health information (PHI). Even without human error, hackers can find their way into electronic protected health information (eFI) according to the laws, regulations and security methods in force.

Switching to a blockchain system could be the answer. While the current data model predicts that multiple health professionals manage, transfer and store copies of a patient's medical records, the blockchain data would allow the patient to simply provide access to a healthcare provider by providing the "key" at the block.

So when a family doctor updates the information and reports a patient to a specialist, he or she would simply be able to access and view the relevant information based on the patient's authorization. Authorizations could also be easily revoked without the worry of destroying digital copies saved on individual computers.

No centralized version of information exists for a hacker to steal or corrupt. Increased speed and access to a person's healthcare data from approved medical professionals would improve health care and potentially reduce the number of medical malpractice cases resulting from such inefficiencies in the current age system.

Another advantage of the blockchain storage system is that all medical history could exist within the blockchain. There would be no need for doctor A to send records to specialist 1 on problem I. Specialist 1 could simply access the block and view records.

In June of this year, Walmart won a patent for a system that would keep the medical records on a blockchain. The Walmart abstracts listed on the US Patent and Trademark Office application states:

"A method for obtaining a medical record of a patient who is not able to communicate, in which the The patient's medical record is stored on a blockchain, which includes receiving an encrypted private key and a public key associated with the patient stored on a patient's wearable device, in response to a scan of the patient's wearable device in a scene of an emergency, where encryption the private key is decrypted by a patient's biometric signature, obtaining the patient's biometric signature by scanning a patient's body feature, decrypting the encrypted private key using the patient's biometric signature to determine a private key associated with the patient, and access the patient's medical records, using a combination ion of the public key and private key associated with the patient, to access a local storage medium or f the wearable device. "

Walmart certainly has some good ideas in mind regarding the potential uses of the blockchain.The abstract clearly illustrates a possible system for the use of blockchains for emergency services. [19659002] During the summer, UnitedHealthcare, Humana, Optum, Quest Diagnostics and MultiPlan launched a pilot program using blockchain technology to assist payers in addressing supplier directories.The program uses technology to reduce costs associated with insurers that update demographics from suppliers, and can avoid the rejection and sanctions of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, avoiding that small errors can emerge from the influence of data, for example an incorrect address. Once a member of the blockchain updates the information, the other members do not have to update the same information that has already been updated. or as more a business use of technology, but it is still a first step, and an experimental one, in the potential uses of the main actors in the health sector of the uses of blockchain technology.

Blockchain technology is complicated to use, understand and implement fully. There is still the question of governance on the blockchain. While it is meant to be performed without a single supervisor, the technology itself is made up of machines and code developed by people. The resulting conflict resolution procedures are not consolidated, and the whole system itself may not even be technically covered by HIPAA at this time. This could open the possibility of fraudulent and unethical behavior if the procedures and laws are not adequately designed before implementation.

However, it will only be a matter of time before updates and redesigns make this technology more intuitive to use and, more importantly, cheaper so that it can be made more widely available. Blockchain technology certainly has great potential in the healthcare world and could find its place in the near future.


  Kevin Peek

Kevin Peek

Kevin Peek is a health lawyer in the St. Louis office of Sandberg Phoenix.

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