The Benefit of Blockchain In Healthcare

The Benefit of Blockchain In Healthcare

Companies should be mindful of the emerging organizational paradigms that surround these solutions when adopting this technology.

The conceptual change to autonomous, distributed solutions is essential for evaluating this technology.

This does not comply with current market structures, multi-level regulations and different locations, and technological resources.

Although the shift to any modern model would be slow as multiple players participate at varying periods and speeds, blockchain will see simultaneous implementation to current business usage cases and new opportunities.

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Governance Consortium

Blockchains are for consortia. Conversely, they are not meant for usage solely within one entity. Consortia needs rigorous governance to allow technology’s success and evolution. Its power or performance depends primarily on consensus protocol but also can rely on network latency and bandwidth.

Therefore, to ensure that the platform and its consensus protocol have enough high throughput and capability to meet target usage cases, use cases, and planned throughput specifications should be evaluated beforehand. Private networks usually have 100s to 1,000s of blocks appended each second. Notice that transactions may be batched to blocks to enhance transaction efficiency for a block throughput.

Privacy Considerations

Consumer anonymity is a crucial concern when introducing a healthcare blockchain. A policy is required to resolve questions relating to how patient PHI would be received, utilized, processed, disclosed, preserved, and eventually disposed of.

With recent rising legislation, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), in combination with regulations that have existed for over a decade, such as HIPAA, patient privacy is now a requirement when discussing some PHI.

1. Individual Data Access Rights

Users would like to consider how best to incorporate individuals as device or program end-users. A significant factor must be the right of a person to have access to their data. HIPAA has regulatory guidelines on rendering health records accessible to the customer via a backup of their history upon request.

To date, no data collection has been established that will be expected to be made public. Still, legislation by the federal government is pushing a citizen to own their health data as an incentive for interest in their health and treatment. HIPAA does not request a particular consumer’s authorization or approval to exchange data for approved reasons, including data sharing for processing, payment, or operations.

HIPAA, though, is quiet on third-party healthcare applications (apps). HIPAA requires an individual (provider or facility) to maintain a transparency audit file. DLT will support these conditions.

2. Individual Right to Ensure

Although blockchains comprise immutable assets, it is essential that data cannot be assigned to someone. This is discussed in GDPR’s “freedom to be lost” Article 17. With these boundaries, it is essential to discuss where implementation data is processed.

Implementers may also need to recognize another state, and federal laws and regulations beyond HIPAA may affect data usage from a privacy perspective, particularly where the agencies concerned are not protected organizations under HIPAA.

Security Considerations

Security should involve ensuring sensitive data and systems’ confidentiality, transparency, and functionality. For successful overall network protection, it is necessary to protect the blockchain, each node, and the healthcare organizations with enterprise systems connected to the technology.

1. Confidentiality

Protecting data secrecy includes ensuring that only approved users have access to data stored in mutual ledgers, the authenticity and accuracy of which are enforced by nodes via various methods, including agreement. Organizations utilize a multi-layered strategy to accomplish blockchain in healthcare by using private blockchains, where many of the associated healthcare organizations are well-known and trusted.

Permission can also limit each health organization’s rights on the network to just what they need to do throughout the network. In order to help preserve its secrecy and just ensure allowed access, data can be encrypted. Different DLT networks use various additional secrecy techniques.

Hyperledger Fabric, for example, deploys a channel infrastructure, Quorum leverages a network of constellations, and Corda utilizes notary services. An organization’s confidentiality policy is essential in the execution phase.

2. Integrity

The distributed ledger’s immutability is contingent upon good decentralization, with nodes distributed and controlled by diverse organizations, in order to minimize the possibility of collaboration. Due to the timeless existence of the technology, end-users may depend on data not altered on the chain.

Updates may be appended throughout the chain, but without the right to modify data already attached, each data point has credibility. In a private or consortium case, another layer of predetermined confidence occurs between nodes contributing to data integrity.

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