Brian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing
Right now, data breaches are a massive problem for the healthcare industry. They cost an average of $429 per patient record compromised thanks to legal, technical and regulatory functions. Healthcare centers also lose their reputation and consumer trust in the wake of a cyberattack.
Why would hackers target healthcare providers? They have a series of unique security vulnerabilities that make them an attractive target for hackers. Old medical devices are made by companies no longer in business. Old software remains in use despite gaping security holes. Hospitals operate unaware of which systems run on the devices they use. Hospitals also have a greater focus on protecting patient privacy than cybersecurity when really, they need to be doing both. Many organizations lack full time cybersecurity employees, furthering the lack of awareness and resources relating to cybersecurity in the healthcare field.
How can healthcare providers better protect their patients’ data? One possible answer lies in the blockchain. For those unfamiliar, a blockchain is a distributed ledger for recording transactions and tracking assets. In this case, it could be used to track a patient’s medical history on a secure, unalterable platform. By incorporating blockchain into wearable medical devices, every device is linked to the patient’s health records. The implementation of blockchain has been pioneered by cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). It would take some modification to put patient records on the blockchain in a secure fashion, but it could be done.
By securing medical records on fragmented systems, it is much harder for cyber criminals to hack and steal data. Blockchain could even improve the provision of telehealth initiatives. At the moment, the main risk of telehealth stems from the lack of security controls over the collection, use, and sharing of data on third party platforms. With blockchain powered telehealth, there is a seamless exchange of secured data and increased consumer confidence in the system. Both patient and provider can view copies of the ledger in this system.
Many established and startup companies alike are looking for ways to improve the healthcare industry using blockchain. If one’s health record were turned into an NFT, patients would gain more control over their data while providers can have more certainty that the data is genuine. The more popular blockchain functions become in the mainstream, the more entrepreneurs will look for ways to incorporate it into daily processes. Companies like Chronicled and Curisium lead the way.
About the Author: Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Adviser for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on Linked