Data breaches are increasing in frequency across the globe. These cyberattacks pose serious threats to the healthcare industry. Data breaches increase a hospital’s 30-day mortality rate. They cost an average of $6.5 million to fix, or $429 per patient record. These costs relate to legal, technical, and regulatory functions as well as lost business. Cyber criminals have additional incentive to target the healthcare industry, as it is rife with security vulnerabilities. Healthcare involves a litany of old medical devices, old software, and implanted, interconnected devices working together. Hospitals tend to focus more on patient privacy than cybersecurity, not realizing the two are related.
Given the seriousness of the problem, experts are looking for solutions anywhere they can find them. One potential area for support lies in blockchain technology. For those not familiar, blockchain is a distributed ledger for recording transactions and tracking assets. By incorporating blockchain into the storage of medical records, patient data is kept in secure, fragmented systems. Providers have access to a more complete patient history, and both patient and provider can have secure copies of the ledger. Health records could even be converted into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to offer patients more control over their data. As NFTs offer a way to certify ownership over digital assets, turning health data into an NFT can give both patients and providers a way of proving the record is genuine.
Several companies are already exploring ways to incorporate blockchain into healthcare. Chronicled has brought a Mediledger network to life, allowing peer-to-peer messaging to happen securely and privately. Curisium uses blockchain as a platform for rebate negotiation and contract management. Providers and payers are able to participate in contracting arrangements efficiently and without fear of hacking. Organizations that recognize the power of blockchain today will have a more secure future.