Medical data needs to be accessible to many entities within the healthcare industry. In the case of an emergency, the instant availability of patient data can save lives. Currently, medical information is fragmented and not accessible.
Health facilities, doctors, insurances, and patients keep data in silos, and information sharing is limited. As a result, patient records are incomplete and prone to individual mistakes such as patients’ remembering incorrect information or paper records getting lost. Patients need to interact with many different doctors but do not have access to their complete and accurate medical history.
- Limited data sharing
- Inaccurate information
Risks for patients
For medical personnel, it means dealing with low-quality or even missing information, which can negatively impact the quality of the treatment they can provide.
- Incorrect diagnosis
Privacy is a big concern in healthcare, and legacy technology isn’t designed to handle the secure sharing of private data.
This lack of cross-communication can not only result in devastating outcomes for patients but also makes processes inefficient.
- Data breaches
Single point of failure
Medical data is stored on central servers, which are prone to hacks and misuse of information. Individuals are exposed to the risk of identity theft, blackmailing, or other attacks. Companies try to mitigate these risks, investing a growing amount of money in security, but their efforts do not produce the desired results. In 2018, 2.8 billion consumer data records were exposed, causing an estimated total cost of $654 billion.
- High costs
- Ineffective solutions
In a blockchain-based, decentralized solution to healthcare data, all authorized parties can access the same accurate and verified information in seconds. The patient has control over their data at all times and can grant others access on-demand, severely decreasing the risk of misuse and theft.
Global health records
Blockchains allow individuals to access their own complete and verified medical records anytime and from anywhere.
At each visit, the health facility will add relevant medical information to the patient’s account stored on the ledger. All involved parties provide attestations for the information they add via digital signatures, allowing others to verify their authenticity. All the data is stored digitally, making it easily accessible, and controlled by the patient for privacy.
- Accessible anywhere anytime
Patients can grant health professionals access to specific information when needed. Instead of each facility storing their patient data, everyone accesses the same high-quality information in a decentralized fashion.
This system ensures data quality, availability, and privacy, all at once.
- Complete data ownership
Better medical care
By making processes more efficient, the healthcare industry can treat more people and provide better medical care. Digitization and automation reduce costs and the risk of human errors and improve data availability.
- Reduced costs
- Less human errors
Real-time pandemic prevention
Furthermore, blockchains enable real-time health data analysis to prevent and monitor disease spreads. Health researchers could spot epidemics as they happen and react accordingly. The high-quality data can be fed artificial intelligence, elevating medical research to unprecedented levels.
- Real-time data analysis
- Next-gen medical research
Blockchain makes data sharing safer. First, less information is relayed. For instance, by showing an ID card, others can collect sensitive personal information such as name and home address.
In a digital environment, digital signatures allow the verification of only the required information.
Secondly, cryptography allows individuals to prove that something is known without revealing the underlying sensitive information. For example, zero-knowledge proofs could be used to aggregate fully-anonymous data and allow researchers to extract the information and analyze it while preserving privacy.
- Selective sharing
- Zero-knowledge proof
Life-long medical record
Blockchains provide a tamper-proof information source that can be easily shared and verified, reducing fraud without affecting data privacy. This system creates a complete, life-long medical record, always accessible in any part of the world.