Healthcare industry uses digital methods for maintaining electronic health records.
From the patients personal information to diagnostic reports, and doctors prescriptions, healthcare organizations, currently use the centralized database for saving data.
IBMs Institute for Business Value Blockchain interviewed 200 healthcare executives and found 16% of them are willing to deploy a commercial blockchain solution.
To integrate blockchain in healthcare, first, we need to understand the scope of data and where and how it is being generated.
At every stage of medical treatment, whether it is a consultation, diagnosis, or surgery, healthcare companies generate sensitive and crucial medical data.
Electronic health records(EHR) contain exploitable information like name, address, place where you work, prescribed medicines, number of doctor visits and payment methods. A Medical record also contains sensitive protected health information like HIV diagnoses, cancer diagnoses, or psychological conditions.
Saving data on blockchain doesnt mean no-compliance. In fact, blockchain will make compliance enforcement more seamless and transparent. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) Compliance ensures the protection of patient data. Healthcare vendor that deals with patients protected health information should follow HIPAAs security measures.
HIPAAs privacy rule allows all the involved members to access and disclose only de-identified data. It is essential that the compliance check is maintained before the health records get saved on the blockchain.
Add further information related to the timestamp, demographics, involved stakeholders, and eventually sign and provision the data to be stored on the blockchain.
The completion of the above steps adds value to the data to be stored on the blockchain.
We shall now discuss how health records can be stored on the blockchain. Even more on Healthcare blockchain, Transactions are completed and identified uniquely: Transactions containing patients health records are saved on the blockchain with their unique IDs and patients public key. If a healthcare provider wants to access a patients public non-identifiable data, the transaction ID is matched, and the information is displayed.
Lets understand how different healthcare providers could consume data using smart contracts:
a. When the data is saved on the blockchain, smart contracts are triggered.
b. Healthcare provider receives the patients report with a hash that hides the identity.
c. Whenever a diagnostic lab or any other healthcare provider would request to access the patients health records, smart contracts notify the patients.
Smart contracts contain business logic about who gets what.
Insurance companies could only access the information related to billing and patients diagnostic reports, but no other details such as doctors notes or prescriptions.
Data Mining and AI in Healthcare Blockchain
But the centralized approach for maintaining the data could hinder the patients privacy. Blockchain could be leveraged to bring trust in the clinical trials and medical research process.
As discussed above, the blockchain healthcare platform could use de-identification for hiding the patients identity. So, medical research companies could utilize the non-identifiable records to carry out the research activities.
Heres what benefits could Blockchain bring to the Healthcare Industry
Control over the data:
Anyone willing to access the health records would require the patients public key. Patients could seamlessly control who should access what data.
Since the data is saved in encrypted form, it remains unreadable to the hackers.