Can Blockchain Transform Health Informatics?


                    

Introduction The blockchain can not only have an impact on the health sector, but could even transform the sector one day. But the adoption process is still too early to establish to what extent. And as in other areas, the blockchain's actual influence on how health services are provided, billed, paid for and managed has not yet been determined. Defined as a "single version of the truth" made possible by an unalterable and secure timestamped register, several copies of which are kept by several parties, the blockchain is considered by many to be a revolutionary method of managing transactions.An industry that deals with digital transactions involving medical records, patient data and other sensitive information certainly needs the means to better protect the integrity and security of these transactions. Is blockchain the answer? How blockchain could impact health According to a report from consulting firm Deloitte Consulting LLP, blockchain technology can potentially transform the healthcare system, placing the patient at the center of the health ecosystem and increasing the security, confidentiality and interoperability of health data. This technology "could provide a new model for the exchange of health information by making electronic health records more efficient, disintermediated and safer," says the report. "Although this is not a panacea, this fast-changing new field is fertile ground for experimentation, investment, and PoC testing." According to the Deloitte study, tools based on the chain of blocks can reduce or eliminate friction and costs of existing intermediaries. They can help connect fragmented systems to generate knowledge and better assess the value of care. In the long run, a national blockchain network for electronic medical records could improve efficiency and promote better patient outcomes, suggests the firm. Some experts are nonetheless skeptical about blockchain's role in the field of medical records. "There is still very little real evidence," said Martha Bennett, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research. "There's a lot of talk about 'what', very little about 'how', especially with regard to large-scale business processes, and hardly anyone talks about key management, which will be a challenge." For many cases For use of blockchain proposed in the health sector, "the real problems have nothing to do with technology and everything with the market structure, special interests and policies," says Bennett. Projects are in the early stages, mainly PoC. There are limited deployments, the most promising of which are augmenting existing processes. Promising Use of Cases Adding transparency to processes, be it claims, prescription drugs, etc., is a key area where the blockchain could apply, Bennett J. "Clearly, for this to succeed, you need ecosystem partners willing to collaborate," she adds. "You also have to take up the challenge of balancing transparency and confidentiality." A good use case, less problematic in terms of confidentiality, is about any kind of reference data, such as information about service providers. The tracking of returned drugs is also a promising case of use, especially if regulation prevents the industry from managing a centralized system. Health data presents two inherent challenges that the blockchain can help solve, considers RJ Krawie , Client Strategy and Design Director at Deloitte. First, health data is often sensitive and must remain private, and is shared only in certain circumstances. The other is that there are benefits to having more data when evaluating a problem or current health condition. "The blockchain can help by creating a secure way to electronically store data from health, and allow a person to control who sees it and who does not have access "Krawie advance. "It also makes it easier to track health data and all health interactions throughout that person's life, allowing them to make the most of the data when determining their health status." The blockchain provides a more secure data storage method and, in a sense, constitutes a better "lock" Judge Krawie. "Many cybersecurity techniques are in place to prevent humans from unintentionally sharing data (…) People will always have to give bad access to the wrong people." Blockchain can allow interoperability nationally The Deloitte report noted that the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technologies, a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Bureau, has issued a common roadmap on interoperability defining key political and technical components necessary for national interoperability. These components include a ubiquitous and secure network infrastructure; verifiable identity and authentication of all participants; and a homogeneous representation of the authorization of access to electronic health information. But current technologies do not fully meet these requirements, says the Deloitte report, as they face limitations related to the security, privacy and total interoperability of the ecosystem. The blockchain could help address these issues. problems, but it is not yet mature, according to the report. Several technical, organizational and business-related challenges need to be addressed before a blockchain of health can be adopted by organizations across the country. The future of blockchain in the health sector According to the Deloitte report, the blockchain technology creates unique opportunities to reduce complexity, enable trust-based collaboration, and create secure, unalterable information. "HHS is right to follow the rapid evolution of this field to identify trends and detect areas in which government support may be needed for the technology to reach its full potential in the health sector, "says the report." To shape the future of the blockchain, HHS should consider mapping and building the ecosystem. blockchain, establishing a framework for the blockchain to coordinate the actions of the first users and support a consortium for dialogue and discovery. "While there is not yet a technological solution to protect all medical data, enabling efficient and secure data exchange, such a solution is possible and feasible for all. 'future, according to Krawie. "The blockchain is not a panacea," he warns. "The blockchain can help secure the transfer of medical data, but will not solve by itself some of the other interoperability issues, such as data quality and integrity." Will the blockchain profoundly upset health sector ? This remains to be determined. "No technology can do it," says Bennett. "But blockchain-based networks can help tilt the sector if ecosystems decide to collaborate and change the way things are done – while of course maintaining regulatory compliance." Article "Can blockchain transform healthcare IT? " translated and adapted by Christophe Auffray, ZDNet.fr

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