Blockchain technology may be the cornerstone for a complete revolution in the digital world. The wide decentralization and higher data security are just a few of the benefits that come with it. Thus, it is readily introduced in various industries, niches, and areas of life.
In this article, we discuss blockchain technology in digital diagnostics. With the highly sensitive medical records, its role may become pivotal. So, how is the blockchain technology used to protect and manage data used for diagnostics? Read on to find out.
• Blockchain technology is a decentralized, secure method of storing and exchanging data
• Blockchains may be used to eliminate human error in medical records, boost cooperation within care teams, and increase data security
• Due to the overly beneficial effects of blockchain technology, it will probably become widely used in the future of healthcare
Blockchain Technology Explained
We will begin our discussion by providing a short explanation of blockchain technology itself – it is crucial to understand it to see the full impact it can have on digital diagnostics and healthcare data management.
A blockchain is a database spread through different websites and servers, connected through cryptographic hashes. Every record is a block and contains the following elements:
• cryptographic hash of the previous block
• transaction data
The blocks together form a chain of information, thus the name of this technology. It was first created for the sake of Bitcoin transactions, to provide users with a non-centralized, trusted payment method and avoid double-spending – the usage of the same token multiple times.
Blockchain in Digital Diagnostic: Security and Implementation Examples
Healthcare uses many digital technologies: machine translation in rapid diagnostics, AI in test results analysis, but also blockchain for data sharing. This is especially interesting since we are experiencing a shift towards multi-provider care, where sending, receiving, overwriting, and storing data securely and efficiently have become of the utmost importance.
Blockchain applies to many aspects related to digital diagnostics and comes with a plethora of advantages for those who opt for this technology. How exactly can it be utilized to improve effectiveness, security, and accuracy?
Eliminating Human Error in Medical Records
One of the key features of blocks is that they are hardly ever altered. The traditional method of updating the data within a blockchain is by adding another block with the timestamp and up-to-date information. As a result, whenever a human error occurs leading to critical medical data being overwritten, it is possible to extract the old information. This, on the other hand, ensures that the patients are diagnosed accurately.
Enhancing Cooperation within the Care Team
Different healthcare providers often store their own data on each patient. Yet, often proper care requires cooperation between several medical facilities, with team members having access to data collected by their clinic or hospital. The only way through which a patient may prevent this from happening is by carrying files and their sensitive medical records between different facilities.
With blockchain technology, it is possible to grant access to all the members of care teams securely and at the same time. Adding timestamps to that, each provider will be able to monitor the changes, test results, and possible diagnoses, not only having access to all the required information but also being constantly updated, with the possibility to react immediately when any unwanted shifts occur.
It also serves the purpose of quicker data unification for those patients who experienced changes in their lives. A move, a marriage, a new insurance plan purchase – all of these need to be distributed swiftly within the information architecture. Yet, it is not so currently. With blockchain technology, the matching issues in digital diagnostics can become significantly less frequent.
Increasing Data Security
Medical data is constantly updated in different network nodes, with several gateways to access it – like in blockchain technology, it is decentralized. Yet, it lacks the security measures offered by this innovation.
Harm-doers have many access points through which they may obtain medical data, and with different entities being responsible for them, vulnerabilities are bound to emerge. And, it is currently sufficient to break into one nod to obtain these records. With blockchains it is different.
To manipulate the data within a blockchain, the attacker has to get control over more than 50% of the nodes. While it is theoretically possible, it is significantly more difficult than with standard information security measures. And, considering that the healthcare data architecture is already similar to what blockchain offers, it is simply a safer solution.
Blockchain in Digital Diagnostics: A Plus, or a Must?
Considering the benefits coming from blockchain technology, it is quite safe to claim that it should and will become a standard in digital diagnostics and within the whole healthcare industry. Better accuracy, higher security, and quicker exchange of data – this is what medical professionals and patients need and it will be provided with blockchains.
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