Blockchain & The Future Of Medicine

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Data breaches are increasing in frequency and cost across the globe, posing serious threats to the healthcare industry.

Impact Of Medical Data Breaches

  • Data breaches increase a hospital’s 30-day mortality rate
  • Data breaches cost $6.5 million on average, or $429 per patient record
  • 67% of costs incurred during first year following a breach
    • 22% after second year
    • 11% in the following years
  • Cost is directly related to:
    • Legal, technical, and regulatory functions
      • Patient notifications
      • Breach detection and response
    • Lost business caused by:
      • Reputational damage
      • Loss of consumer trust
      • Downtime
    • Complexity of criminal cyberattack resolution
    • Duration of consequences
  • Small- to medium-sized healthcare organizations spend 5% of annual revenue, or $2.5 million, to recover

The healthcare industry has unique security vulnerabilities that make it a lucrative target for hackers

Security Vulnerabilities In Healthcare

  • Old medical devices are made by companies no longer in business
  • Old software has gaping security holes
  • Implanted, inter-connected devices are hackable
  • Human errors increase risk of breach
  • Hospitals are unaware of which systems run on the devices they use
  • Hospitals focus on protecting patient privacy, rather than cybersecurity
  • Organizations lack full-time cybersecurity employees
  • Providers lack awareness and resources
  • Unpatchable devices and lack of funds to update equipment may force hospitals to use vulnerable devices
  • Tension between cybersecurity experts and doctors
    • Cybersecuriy experts create a patch, but doctors don’t install the update
    • Physicians believe cybersecurity experts have an exaggerated response to threats that cause delays in treatment

Blockchain — a distributed ledger for recording transactions and tracking assets — has many promising applications in healthcare

Blockchain Applications

  • Wearables and Remote Monitoring
    • Devices may monitor:
      • Blood pressure, pulse, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, epileptic seizures, and diabetes
    • By incorporating blockchain:
      • Every wearable is linked to a patient hub containing all patient health records
      • Health professionals have access to real-time patient data
      • Patients may receive highly-precise and personalized care
      • Access to patient data will prepare paramedics to accurately treat a patient when they arrive on the scene
    • Benefits of blockchain-powered wearables:
      • Reduced complexity and cost
      • Reduced errors
      • Enhanced security
      • Proven resilience
      • Shared trust transactions
      • Creation of an audit trail
      • Enhanced transparency
  • Telehealth
    • Risks of telehealth:
      • Stem from lack of security controls over the collection, use, and sharing of data
      • Sensitive data may be shared with advertisers and other third parties
    • By incorporating blockchain:
      • Medical records are stored in secure, fragmented systems
      • Providers have access to a more complete patient history
    • Benefits of blockchain-powered telehealth:
      • Seamless exchange of data
      • Increased consumer confidence in the system
      • Both the patient and provider have a copy of the ledger
  • Gamification
    • Gamification strengthens focus, orients patients towards their goals, and creates learning opportunities
    • Patients are rewarded with cryptocurrency tokens for healthy behaviors, such as:
      • Attending doctors’ appointments
      • Completing surveys
      • Taking medication
      • Following doctor’s orders
    • Benefits:
      • Improved health outcomes
      • Minimized losses for healthcare providers
  • Health Data NFTs
    • Use of non-fungible tokens to secure individual’s health record could increase security, preventing instances of identity theft and fraud
    • Benefits
      • Patients gain more control of their data
      • Potential profit from sharing data with 3rd parties
      • Providers could be sure the data is genuine

Many established and startup companies are exploring opportunities to improve services and transactions in healthcare using blockchain

Companies Exploring Blockchain In Healthcare

  • Chronicled
    • Created the MediLedger Network which combines a secure peer-to-peer messaging network and a decentralized blockchain network to bridge the gap between trading partners
    • Features:
      • Business rule enforcement
      • Privacy first design
      • Secure real-time messaging
      • Access to industry master data
  • Curisium
    • Uses blockchain to offer a platform for rebate negotiation and contract management
    • Enables providers and payers to participate in innovative contracting arrangements that are both efficient and secure
    • Recent acquisition by HealthaVerity led to increased customization and seamless automation of workflows
  • Ever (Ever Medical Technologies)
    • Blockchain-built platform offers integrated but modular suite of software with the following features:
      • Secured and trustless data exchanges
      • Big data collection and analysis
      • Machine learning- and artificial intelligence-powered tools and features
  • Patientory
    • Offers patient-centric applications and services with the following features:
      • Up-to-date patient histories and data
      • Pandemic tracking and reporting
      • Secure communication with verified healthcare personnel

Organizations that recognize the power of blockchain and begin to explore ways to incorporate it into daily processes will set themselves for a more secure future

Find your path to blockchain.