Can Blockchain resolve the problem of ‘Privacy and Confidentiality’ of Public Health Information (PHI)

Can Blockchain resolve the problem of ‘Privacy and Confidentiality’ of Public Health Information (PHI)

Healthcare & life sciences organizations across the world have increasingly adopted digital solutions for health record management. The aim is to improve the efficiency, quality, and transparency of the healthcare system.

However, the digitization of healthcare does not come without shortcomings. Blockchain for Healthcare & Life Sciences targets to deliver privacy protection and the secure storage of medical records are crucial issues within medical services.

Protecting data privacy is critical for healthcare organizations to maintain patient trust. Regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the US and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union were formed to manage data privacy concerns.

Secure storage and making full use of personal medical data have always been a concern for the general public. Blockchain technology has a strong use case to resolve the problems around ‘Privacy and Confidentiality\’ of public health data.

Blockchain for Healthcare & Life Sciences –  Privacy and Confidentiality

Almost 80 million people have been impacted by stolen public healthcare data in the past 5 years and the pool is getting bigger day by day. Around 50% of data breaches had a monetary impact of $2,500 on average on each American citizen, as per a study conducted in the United States.

Such data breaches cost $6.2 billion to the US healthcare market. Healthcare organizations lose around $3.7 million per data breach in revenue, with HIPAA fines, lawsuits, and recovery costs quickly adding up.

The alarming rise of data privacy and confidentiality issues in the healthcare sector advocates the need for an efficient data security system.

Blockchain technology minimizes data vulnerability as it eliminates centralization and records all patient health data on an immutable ledger.

Blockchain-enabled Public Health Information (PHI) Management Solution

Blockchain eliminates the risks associated with centralized data by storing digital health records across multiple nodes within the network. The following steps illustrate how blockchain can help in managing medical records:

  • Store information on the blockchain

Health records can be saved by healthcare vendors with the patient’s public key on the blockchain.

  • Transactions are identified uniquely

Transactions containing patients’ health records are saved on the healthcare blockchain with their unique IDs and patient’s public key.

  • Healthcare units can directly query the blockchain

Healthcare institutes can submit their queries via APIs and access the patient’s non-identifiable information through smart contracts.

  • Sharing patients’ public keys with health organizations

Patients can share the public key with healthcare organizations. Data remains non-identifiable to healthcare providers without the private key.

Practical benefits of Blockchain for Healthcare & Life Sciences Sectors

  • Simplified Approach to Data

There is no need for storing data in multiple databases while using Blockchain for Healthcare & Life Sciences, hence, enabling the simplified approach to accessing public health information. Healthcare records can be shared across multiple nodes using the blockchain for healthcare.

  • Data Security

An immutable and secure ledger eventually reduces complexities and brings transparency. Everyone in the healthcare network can harness Blockchain for Healthcare & Life Sciences so that the data could access transparently as per the data ownership.

  • Control over the data

Whosoever is willing to access the health records would require the patient’s public key. Patients could smoothly control who should access what data. Since the data is saved in encrypted form, it remains non-identifiable to hackers.

To Sum Up

Many startups are increasingly developing Blockchain-Based Solutions in the life sciences and healthcare sectors. Considering the capabilities of the Blockchain for the Healthcare & Life Sciences industries, a decentralized platform could overcome the privacy and confidentiality challenges faced by these sectors and, at the same time, empower patients with greater control over their medical care. This is the reason that healthcare vendors are exploring the potential of public health information (PHI) management solutions.

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