The most important aspect of digitization is its impact on different spheres of human life. Implementing different categories of technological advancement to ease our living and assist in our day-to-day activities is a stepping stone towards a better world for us to live in. Blockchain is used in various industrial sectors and is utilized in the healthcare industry for specific reasons like personal information security and data integrity of patients.
Impact Of Blockchain
The healthcare industry is one of the most information-sensitive sectors, which keep records of patients’ personal information and therefore must be secure from any breach. Blockchain, as a technology, is used for its secure and transparent nature of handling data. The areas where it is used are widely distributed like health data, encryption of personal information, secure transactions and decentralized ledger across a block for users to see.
Countries across the world widely invest in improving their prevalent healthcare system. This investment signifies the implementation of digital technologies like blockchain to improve healthcare management in today’s world. Blockchain is used for securely encrypting sensitive information and collecting data for research purposes without the risk of organizations accessing personal user information. This kind of security is possible due to the operational mechanism of blockchain technology, which keeps all the information distributed across a network. Users have an encrypted key, control their information and how much they want to share with a respective organization at their disposal.
Positive And Negative Aspects Of Blockchain In Healthcare
Blockchain technology is an open distributed ledger where data, tangible or intangible, is stored across devices and does not have a centralized authority. This decentralized nature is helpful for various reasons. Sensitive information can be stored and distributed, thus making it less likely for digital theft.
Blockchain technology is primarily used for a few reasons: an open, decentralized ledger system, transparency in its operational mechanism, and peer-to-peer distribution of data. Information regarding ways to implement blockchain in businesses ranging from supply chain to healthcare can be found at https://btsr.io/.
Blockchain facilitates various options like the irreversible nature of the ledger, where once a piece of information, which is stored, cannot be rewritten. Transactions made between involved parties are visible across the network of users, thus promoting transparency; this is known as Digital Ledger Technology (DLT).
The use of digital ledgers also has some disadvantages associated with it. Monetary transaction is not the only function within the healthcare industry, where DLT can be applied, but also in areas of personal information; however, it is not effective to keep the personal information of individuals in a public ledger.
Blockchain as a technology is primarily secure, and user data is safe. Specific attacks on the system cannot cause much harm to this distributed network. While the technology is implemented, it is imperative to consider the security of different layers within the block. A user is provided with an encrypted key, which is known as a hash key. This key is only accessible by the owner and organization with whom the information is shared.
Negative aspects of blockchain in healthcare are primarily the utilization of the system and information stored. The Healthcare industry has large chunks of data, which are updated in certain intervals. It is imperative to keep such data out of the block since data stored in blocks are immutable.
It is crucial to keep in mind that traditional data management methods have security risks associated with them. Blockchain technology facilitates secure decentralized storage of data, management of personal information, and secure encryption
Facilitation Of Research
Blockchain technology keeps a record of patient information in an open ledger securely. Excluding information sensitive to patients, there is lots of accessible data in the database that facilitate research.
The availability of vast chunks of information helps researchers address a specific health hazard for a large part of the population. Given that this is a public ledger, the blocks containing information should be arranged where a patient’s Personal Health Information (PHI) is not accessible by organizations for research purposes. This arrangement is made by creating blocks where general information is available at the topmost block for interested individuals or organizations to access.
Blockchain technology at its core is associated with securely handling sensitive information by promoting transparency. PHI of patients should be dealt with care, and any data breach is not acceptable.
This security is established through public and private keys for individual users, thus helping to negate data breaches. There is an estimation, which states that between 2009 to 2017, a whopping 176 million user information was leaked.
For hackers to access personal user information in a blockchain, it is necessary to access each user’s private key, which is unique for every individual, thus making it a pretty challenging task to undertake.
Varied Usage In The Healthcare Industry
Blockchain is used in various domains associated with the healthcare industry. Some of them are discussed in-depth. However, it is necessary to keep in mind that it does not include every aspect associated with the industry. Patients’ information stored in a blockchain can easily be migrated to a different organization’s database without hassle.
Storage of data is comparatively cheaper due to the distribution of storage across networks. This information, which is securely stored, is shared with respective authorities by simply providing access to a private key with the respective individual.
Healthcare applications can provide users with different functionalities; since medical records are stored in digital ledgers, it facilitates faster transfer of information and blockchain technology is secure from cyber-attacks.
Blockchain has enabled users and organizations to trace diseases and pandemic outbreaks with information from the distribution channel. There are innumerable impacts of adapting blockchain into healthcare. This impact is primarily due to the transparent nature of how blockchain as a technology operates. Negatives are always there and must be reflected upon. However, this new era of adopting blockchain into the working function of healthcare has improved our systems and databases by leaps and bounds. Many improvements are gradually changing how the healthcare system operates, and blockchain lies at its core.