The healthcare sector is poised for a blockchain fueled revamp, as the industry is facing problems that blockchain technology seems perfectly suited to solve. Among these problems are data security and breaches, medical record keeping, combating counterfeit drugs, verifying the integrity of clinical trials, as well as an increased patient demand for data transparency and accessibility.
IBM recently conducted a survey focused on the intersection between healthcare and the burgeoning blockchain tech, titled Healthcare Rallies for Blockchain. The study surveyed 200 healthcare providers globally, and 56% were intending on implementing a commercial blockchain solution by 2020.
7 in 10 healthcare trailblazers (respondents who began to commercialize blockchain in 2017) expect that blockchains greatest impact will be in the realm of “clinical trial records, regulatory compliance and medical/ health records.”
While it’s clear that the healthcare sector is hungry to adapt blockchain and DLT technology at scale to help tackle a host of issues, the tech is still nascent and isn’t quite ready for the task. With Constellation, we fully intend on being ready to meet the demands of the healthcare sector by 2020, when over half of the industry plans on implementing a commercial blockchain solution. Let’s look at several challenges currently facing the healthcare industry at large, and how Constellation’s framework can provide the solution.
Data and IoMT Security
During 2017, 5.6 million patient records were breached according to the Protenus Breach Barometer report, an annual survey of how data breaches affect healthcare. In addition, Frost & Sullivan are projecting a that between 20 and 30 billion Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices will be in use by 2020, creating a new cybersecurity battlefield that is currently lacking an industry standard. To illustrate this a step further, in 2017 the FDA recalled over 450,000 pacemakers due to fears that they could be hacked, leaving the patient’s heartbeat in the control of the hacker. With the rapid growth of IoMT and the breakneck pace of technological innovation, existing health IT architecture is lagging behind and failing to keep patients data secure and out of the hands of hackers.
With our novel introduction of Distributed Security, Constellation can serve as the underlying infrastructure to keep health data private and cryptographically secure. A hospital could store their patients health records on their own Constellation para-chain, and all of the connected IoMT devices could become nodes in the network (securing them from cyber threats).Constellation will be equipped to unlock the real benefits of patient monitoring in preventative medicine by enabling ways to transact certain data on-chain while maintaining data privacy off-chain.
Medical and Clinical Record Keeping
We’ve already illustrated how vulnerable medical records are to hacking and data breaches, and Constellation’s distributed security framework could be perfectly suited to cryptographically secure patients records. By placing a vast amount of of medical or clinical information on a Constellation para-chain, the patients would have complete autonomy over what data is being shared, and with whom, while medical practitioners would have unlimited access to an agreed upon set of data about patients. Our DAG based protocol makes this data hack-proof, and mitigates the risk of data breaches for patients and medical outfits alike. In addition, our network becomes both faster and more secure as more nodes and participants join the network, further incentivizing medical institutions to shift away from vulnerable cloud based IT systems.
Patient Driven Interoperability
William J. Gordon recently wrote a paper on Blockchain Technology for Healthcare: Facilitating the Transition to Patient-Driven Interoperability. In it, he outlines a shift away from a notion of institution driven interoperability within healthcare (which typically focused around data exchanged between hospitals or healthcare entities) and more towards a notion of patient-driven interoperability, “in which an individual patient’s electronic health data is made available to them through standard mechanisms like APIs.” Constellation’s API like infrastructure can serve as the connective framework between these two forms of interoperability, allowing patients to toggle what types of data gets shared with certain medical entities, while empowering individuals with more control over their data. In addition, individuals could be incentivized to opt in to certain types of medical trials or research by receiving $DAG (or any other para-chain currency) in exchange for sharing their data.