Our blog post is gathered under two main headings: Blockchain technology and the Health sector. The health sector is a sector that is subject to many regulations / regulations and where safety is of utmost importance.
We use blockchain technology to ensure reliability and add transparency to our lives, and it is one of the technologies we describe as destructive that you will develop.
But how could these two fields come together? First of all, we need to understand what blockchain technology means, what it means and what kind of conveniences it offers in general, before logging into our main content, that is, examining the health applications of blockchain technology. Blockchain, or blockchain, is one of the briefest definitions:
“From a constantly growing record list called blocks, which is connected and secured for cryptography. “
1- Data Storage
* It is a safe way to store sensitive information.
2- Building Trust
* All nodes in the network must trust each other.
3- Cost Reduction
* Reduces costs by eliminating third institutions that are intermediaries in transactions.
4- Speed Increase
* Instead of performing the processes manually, realization with the help of an automatic system and entirely on computers adds speed to the blockchain.
We are all aware of how much of each of these substances is needed in the field of health and how such an innovative solution can work.
A year ago, an incident took place that shook the world and was mentioned on all news pages. In this incident that took place in the USA, it was mentioned that the data of 12 million patients were leaking. The data of the American Medical Collection Company, which provides invoice collection services to health and insurance companies, was accessed by cyber attackers and this data breach could not be detected for a full 8 months.
Sometime after this striking incident, a consulting firm said in a statement that the registration information of 200 thousand patients was put up for sale on the Dark Web. These and many other data leaks occur while you sit at home and sip your tea or read this block. These kinds of incidents push states and institutions to seek solutions and alternative ways. At this point, we come across blockchain technology!
The most prominent feature of blockchain technology in this field is its invariance. In this way, data corruption is no longer a concern. With this technology, unlike traditional databases together with a central and single server, the use of a distributed system ensures high-security data exchange. The distribution of this structure also reduces the administrative costs of the current system.
The decentralized nature of blockchains is an important defense against technical failures and external attacks that endanger valuable information in an industry where data privacy is vital, such as health.
With the impact of the growing age and the growing interest in the digital world, many needs came with it. Data privacy, interoperability, data accessibility, secure supply chain management are very important in the field of health.
Although we cannot keep many medicines in mind today, we need to carry various documents with us. As data storage technology evolves, storage and reliability of big data require large costs and equipped systems. All these problems created the need for blockchain technology in healthcare.
The first problem we will consider; health institutions keeping their own private databases and sharing patient information among institutions can create problems in terms of security. Central structures where data are kept together always have the potential for security vulnerabilities. The difficulty of recognizing the patient in emergency situations can lead to losses up to death in some cases, where even the minutes lost to access information are very important. Therefore, it is important that the patient, who was suddenly hospitalized, has access to his previous records.
If the information is under the control of the patient, in critical situations that require urgent intervention, the patient can allow access to this information to the authorized people in the first healthcare institution they can access at that moment, so that the necessary interventions can be made on time.
At this point, Blockchain technology comes into play. With the blockchain, patients are provided with regular storage of their health data. In this way, the patient’s information can be saved in the blockchain and accessed anywhere in the world, and lifelong health information can be accessed as much as the patient allows.
Also, the data is stored encrypted. Since it is formed in a variable structure, data cannot be played or changed. In addition, the blockchain is transparent, individuals can track data if they want, so patients can easily send data records to anyone without fear of data corruption or tampering. Thus, the patient can share health data with someone else in other countries.
As a result, it is aimed to eliminate the problem of interoperability in the health sector with blockchain.
In addition, the role of blockchain will be important in the pharmaceutical industry in the future. Pharmaceutical companies need to have a highly secure supply chain due to the type of product they carry.
Today, medicines can be stolen from the supply chain in the same way, to be sold illegally to various consumers. This means that counterfeit drugs alone cost these companies around $ 200 billion a year. A transparent blockchain will help ensure that companies keep track of drugs close to their origin, thereby helping eliminate counterfeit drugs.
In this regard, there are many new initiatives to protect, store and securely share personal information that specifically addresses health.
Now, we will examine applications that use Blockchain solutions in the healthcare industry.
It is the world’s first blockchain solution to transfer digital prescriptions and medical data that can be used to take medicines.
MedRec is a project focused on patients to easily share their data with the institutions they allow under their control.
ScaleMed is a blockchain infrastructure system that combines drug manufacturers, dispensers, hospitals and pharmacy chains to prevent fraud on drugs and prescriptions and ensures that drugs are registered, confirmed and transferred in a safe and leak-free manner.
With algorithms that can make personal DNA encryption, it develops methods such as text, picture, sound that can be safely stored in DNA for many years. It also encodes Bitcoin private key passwords that it encrypts into DNA sequences.
Next article will be about “Coded Blockchain Application”. Stay tuned!
Bogazici University, Computer Engineering