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Securing Patient Data: How Blockchain Enhances Healthcare

The Healthcare Industry has primarily dealt with the issue of safeguarding its patients' data, whether it be the patient's medical history, lab reports, billing information, or other information.

What happens when data such as that found in medical records such as EHR/EMR is compromised?

What causes these?

Malware, ransomware, an insider who intentionally or unintentionally reveals patient health data, hacking, phishing efforts, and the loss or theft of laptops or other devices are all causes of healthcare data breaches.

Not only that, but IoT gadgets such as Fitbits, smartwatches, and smartphones capture health data that a hacker may access.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that defines permitted uses and disclosures of protected health information (PHI), specifies standards for the safe storage and transfer of PHI, and provides patients with the right to seek copies of their PHI.

Is PHI properly secured by the authorities?

Well, cybercriminals may occasionally keep PHI hostage through ransomware attacks, in which they force a healthcare provider (or organisation) to pay a ransom in exchange for the safe handover of the compromised PHI data.

Did you know that the United States has 392 data breach instances, accounting for more than half of the global total? Canada came in second with 21, the United Kingdom had 20, and Australia had 17 breaches during the quarter. There were no more than seven instances in any other country.

What can one do to preserve their privacy and ensure data integrity? Blockchain technology has grown tremendously in the last several years. From bitcoin to cryptocurrencies to healthcare and many more topics. In the healthcare sector, a Blockchain network is used to store and share patient data amongst hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, pharmaceutical corporations, and clinicians. How does blockchain help the healthcare industry?

→ IoT devices

There are currently applications, gadgets, and sensors on the market that can record and gather data on the patient's health. Blockchain technology might be used to store, share, and retrieve remotely acquired biological data from these devices.

→ Clinical trials

These produce enormous volumes of data that must be precisely verified. The inability to obtain patient data and the rising expense of research are now the two biggest problems facing clinical trials. Blockchain would address these issues by enabling real-time monitoring of clinical subjects in trials, unlocking the locked-up data in individual databases of healthcare organisations, and improving data management assistance.

→ Insurance and Smart Contracts

The escalating fraud and system misuse cannot be handled by the conventional claim verification and reimbursement process/method. The immutability, openness, and audibility of data stored on blockchains are advantages that the medical insurance industry may make use of. Additionally, the verification and payment of claims may be automated and made more effective with the use of smart contracts. The complex process of record keeping may be automated using blockchain and its smart contract capability. Accuracy will increase when automation is achieved.

→ Electronic Health Records

Patients will have full control over their medical information thanks to blockchain, and they may share or transfer those records with other healthcare providers. This will alter how patient health information is managed since electronic health records will be able to store all of the patient's health information from all healthcare providers in a single document thanks to blockchain technology.

→ Data Security

Blockchain technology would stop cyberattacks by removing the single point of failure problem. The ledger would be tamper-resistant since all participants could view and confirm every transaction in it. Attacking the database becomes exceedingly challenging when more than one node is compromised.

→ Interoperability

A health network's total quality of care suffers as a result of several systems failing to "communicate" with one another, which also drives up expenses. Different organisations can share data while maintaining security, privacy, and authorisation by using private or consortium blockchains. By making the appropriate data available to the right people at the right time, improved healthcare delivery will result from increased collaboration across all healthcare stakeholders.

Blockchain in the healthcare sector has a lot to offer and is prepared to provide results and fundamentally change the sector. It is imperative to implement change and raise the standard of healthcare services being provided in order to address the severe issues this industry is now experiencing. Blockchain technology has the potential to save the healthcare sector with careful application and execution.



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