What Role Could Blockchain Play in Health IT?

What Role Could Blockchain Play in Health IT?

Blockchain tech has potential beyond Bitcoins in healthcare IT.

In our ever-evolving world, new opportunities also come with new threats. This idea could not be more valid when we examine emergent technology and security measures. Adopting new technology to solve age-old problems is necessary for our constant pursuit to innovate and stay on top of industry demands. Within healthcare IT, data security is always an avenue that requires reworks and improvements.

So where does blockchain come into this discussion? In recent years, “blockchain” has become a buzzword within the world of informational security thanks to its role in cryptocurrency. What applications can this technology have in the healthcare sector? Let’s explore what blockchain is and what role its concepts can play in health IT.

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain is rooted in cryptography. Basically, shared data had to be encrypted and made so that only those in the data network could decrypt and access the information. The main concept is a shared and secured record-keeping system. Data is kept as metaphorical “blocks,” which would be shared with those who have access to the network, or the “chains.” Each person in the chain would have a copy of a shared digital ledger that needed to confirm changes made with each other before updates could be reflected on all copies in the system.

Using blockchain made keeping records both fairly secured and distributable to back the exchange and record-keeping for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Applications to Healthcare

In modern-day healthcare, electronic health records need to be accessible to multiple approved parties while maintaining security as not to expose sensitive personal information. Applying security measures like the ones found in blockchain to the update and exchange of healthcare information potentially fulfills those roles securely. Only those with permission should be able to access and make changes to the data. Healthcare providers need constant access to their patients’ updated information to administer the appropriate care, and patients are entitled to control over their health information. 

Blockchaining enables the constant confidential exchange of information in theory, but there are necessary adjustments needed to fix limitations to these record-keeping systems. Until such issues like privacy and improved interoperability of these systems are addressed, its uses in regards to healthcare IT are limited in practice. However, the potential that blockchain technology offers is indisputable.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, September 26th, 2019 at 2:33 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.