Blockchain technology helps to secure electronic healthcare records by providing a more advanced form of encryption.
Right now, blockchain technologies are still bleeding-edge tech we haven’t seen much of quite yet. It’s expected to grow over time as blockchain is an area of intense interest for researchers–it could make security software and applications stronger than ever before.
It may be challenging to find blockchain medical records and electronic healthcare records software in the short run, but in the future it may come to dominate the technological scene with more medical software using it to keep patient information safe and secure.
From bitcoin to healthcare
Many people first heard of blockchain through Bitcoin. As a currency alternative, Bitcoin uses blockchain as its underlying security. This concept behind Bitcoin is one of the main reasons it’s so popular. It turns out that blockchain has a variety of different uses and applications across different industries. One application of blockchain technology is in providing security for EHR.
As many people already know, EHR data is frequently the target of hacking. Stealing someone’s personal information provides a way for hackers to obtain other valuables or impersonate someone’s identity. Blockchain can help prevent that and it does so in an interesting way. Using a very advanced form of cryptography, in essence blockchain takes a list of records and adds to it with each transaction.
Computers calculate the next link in the blockchain and ensure that the ledger is complete before moving on. The chain of records gets longer over time and the cryptography behind blockchain is incredibly difficult to break. This makes it virtually impossible to steal information or make unauthorized changes to the data.
Redundant copies and verification of records keeps everything very consistent, while changing subsequent blocks within the blockchain requires consensus across the network.
This provides excellent security for sensitive information such as healthcare or financial data. That’s why the world of finance has such a strong interest in further development of blockchain technologies and why it has so much to offer healthcare.
Blockchain and the future of interoperability
Blockchain may also accelerate the push for interoperability. Health IT and Big Data experts are excited about blockchain applications, although everyday clinics may not see a significant use of blockchain for a while. Once it does become mainstream, this technology is poised to really take off in a big and dramatic way.
Because changes are time-stamped in each data set and such extensive verification goes into its production, blockchain healthcare records would be a good way manage multiple users having access to the same secure data set–a situation typical of a healthcare organization.
With multiple people editing and accessing the same records, it’s hard to keep track of all these different edits when they happen. Software is very good at this already, but blockchain can be used to augment security in new software. With data breaches an ongoing feature in the news, blockchain can serve as a sensible means of achieving greater data security.
Providing a simple and effective way to protect and secure data, blockchain makes sense for creating interoperable software. It makes it simple to share information while also keeping it safe–a huge plus for interoperability. Different users could easily edit and access the same information while the core records are protected.
Will we see blockchain medical records software soon?
Right now, many software developers, healthcare institutions, and researchers are working on potential uses for blockchain in healthcare. The healthcare industry, like the financial world, may soon find itself clamoring for more blockchain technologies.
Chiropractic clinics could start seeing EHR with blockchain security in the next few years. At this point, we’re only at the beginning of a blockchain revolution.
- Miliard, M. “Mayo Clinic exploring EHR use cases with UK startup.” Healthcare IT News. https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/mayo-clinic-exploring-blockchain-ehr-use-cases-uk-startup. Published: June 2018. Accessed: October 2018.
- Pearl, R. “Blockchain, Bitcoin, and the Electronic Healthcare Record.” Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertpearl/2018/04/10/blockchain-bitcoin-ehr/#5c8955bf79e7. Published: April 2018. Accessed: October 2018.