Blockchain: The solution to healthcare data insecurity
Since blockchain first came onto the scene within the world of cryptocurrency more than a decade ago, we have seen it expand well beyond that space to establish footholds in a wide range of industries. Everything from finance and cloud storage to supply chain and agriculture has experienced blockchain innovations, and we are only going to continue seeing growth in that direction.
And this trend includes healthcare. The healthcare industry not only has the potential to introduce a vast range of blockchain applications in the near future, but it also has an immediate need for such advancement, as well.
Here is how blockchain can serve as a vital solution to improve cybersecurity across the healthcare space.
Healthcare’s data security problem
For years, cybersecurity has been a major issue within the healthcare industry. Data breaches happen far too regularly and prove both costly to providers and damaging to patients.
In fact, 1 in 4 U.S. consumers have had their healthcare data breached as of 2017. During that year alone, there were several major data breaches, including one involving Indiana Medicaid that impacted more than 1 million patients. 2018 was just as bad, with 1 million-plus records being compromised during the first quarter alone.
Reports also illustrate the fact that a growing number of these breaches are criminal attacks. But why do hackers want access to healthcare data so badly?
Why hackers want your healthcare data
There are a number of reasons cyber-intruders may want to gain access to your medical records, most of which have to do with profiting off your personal information and likeness.
- Hackers may be interested in accessing your personal information so they can then sell it for profit – using things like social security numbers and confidential medical history.
- Hackers may also use your data to create a fake identity that can then be used to perpetrate insurance fraud or to complete illegal purchases.
- Lastly, hackers might breach a healthcare network in order to execute a ransomware attack, shutting down the entire network until a specific amount of money (ransom) is paid.
Another one of the big draws toward healthcare data is that unlike financial data (bank account, PIN numbers, etc.), it stays the same for a lifetime and can thus be used by malicious parties indefinitely.
Blockchain can help
It is clear cybersecurity has hampered healthcare for a long time, and blockchain may be able to provide an invaluable solution. Thanks to its key attributes of decentralization, verification, and transparency, blockchain can help do away with many of the issues facing healthcare that have led to massive attacks on patients and hospitals.
In the current healthcare landscape, patient data is stored across a variety of different platforms and databases, many of which are incompatible and unable to communicate effectively with one another. This leaves room for intruders to access and manipulate data before anyone realizes it has been done.
Blockchain can standardize data in terms of format and create transparency between providers and patients across all these systems, also making them compatible with one another. If changes are made to a record by a user, it updates in real-time for visibility by all users who have been granted access.
Furthermore, the data is stored on the blockchain ledger without specifically identifying the patient. Permitted users are provided with a secure address and key that they can then use to access the information.
Through smart contracts, the patient will have visibility as to who is accessing their data, when they are accessing it, and why they are accessing it.
Blockchain can help prevent data from being deleted or otherwise manipulated – in addition to delivering more efficient and less expensive transactions.
Wearable technology innovations
In addition to security benefits, blockchain within the healthcare space can also lead to a better overall patient experience, thanks largely to something many of us already use: wearable devices.
Devices like smartwatches and smartphones are always capturing and recording valuable health information, much of which currently goes unused by healthcare professionals.
However, imagine a direct connection between the data from your wearable device and your physician, who can use it to aid in diagnoses and overall care. This is a frictionless connection blockchain can help create.
Join the blockchain revolution with Compute North
It is projected that by 2025, 55% of healthcare applications will involve some form of blockchain. As advancements continue to propel industries forward, there has never been a better time to get involved and invest in the future of this cutting-edge technology.
Compute North owns and operates state-of-the-art facilities designed specifically to make the most of blockchain technology. We have the vision to adapt to market demands, recognizing there are many applications being designed that do not require maximum uptime and hyper-scale redundancy. Each of our campuses is constructed in a strategic location across the U.S. to allow users to focus solely on ROI and less on logistics.
With years of mining colocation experience, we have best-in-class solutions designed to help you maximize business operations. Benefits of our services include:
- Cost-competitive infrastructure powered by renewable energy
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- And more