Blockchain: the Key to Healthcare’s Cybersecurity Problem?
It’s no secret that healthcare companies have trouble catching up with cybersecurity. However, as HCA News reports, they might have a game changer up their sleeve:
Researchers from Vanderbilt University and Varian Medical Systems, a California-based medical device and software firm, looked at the implications of using blockchain technology to help healthcare organizations more securely and easily share data. Such information sharing between providers is a critical component of healthcare decision-making, according to experts.
Many healthcare providers safely share data through secured services such as “Direct.” However, this only works when both ends use the same secured service. If one end uses a different service, things get a little dicey. Enter the blockchain:
“…with a blockchain system, it would be easier for a big healthcare organization to share data with a local independent physician, since both sides wouldn’t need to share the same security service.”
Using the blockchain, healthcare firms would have public keys – codes used to authenticate users – while doctors would have private keys that would identify them as the user attempting to share or receive information. These keys could be encoded into records or apps, even into an employee’s identification card, making data sharing easier and more secure – regardless of what service or intermediary they’re using. Peng Zhang, one of the study’s co-authors, says that her research shows the blockchain as “a feasible fix for the healthcare industry’s woes.”
There are other benefits, too. Aside from security, storing data on the blockchain is cheaper than having it on a data center, and it would minimize potentially costly data mishaps as well. Blockchain software can be used as an add-on to current systems, too, making software costs much more manageable.