Iris: A Blockchain Solution for the Healthcare Industry
Iris: A Blockchain Solution for the Healthcare Industry
Blockchain technology has been a revolution. From financial services, to social media, and even energy, this developing tech has the potential to make the world’s economy faster, safer, and better. In the 21st century and beyond, what industry can’t afford to be as efficient, secure, and globally accessible as possible?
Now, one group of blockchain entrepreneurs have their eyes set on one wasteful sector in particular: the healthcare industry. Iris, a blockchain tech aimed at revolutionizing the way providers and patients deal with health data is attempting to bring the miracle of blockchain technology to a sector that can be plagued by inefficiency, data insecurity, and poor access.
What’s Wrong With Healthcare
The American healthcare industry can be wasteful. This year the US will spend nearly 17% of its GDP on healthcare related expenses, a number only only estimated to rise to 20% by 2025. This spending is by far the highest among developed nations. This expense is the result of inefficiencies not only in how Americans pay and provide healthcare, but in the infrastructure of the system itself.
The current technology of Existing Health Records (EHR’s), the system for storing and sharing medical data is fragmented, insecure, and inefficient. This heavily flawed, archaic system has a number of weaknesses:
First is the lack of interoperability between systems. When individuals switch healthcare systems, different systems can often have difficulty transferring their health histories, preventing the patient from receiving optimal care, and keeping doctors from full, time-stamped medical histories of their patients. Healthcare workers, untrained in data entry, are forced to spend vital time inputting imperfect data across systems.
Even more pressing, many current systems of EHR is insecure and possibly open to from 3rd parties. In 2017, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) was hacked. The amount of stolen data is still unknown, but the ease and size of the breach should be a cause of concern for any massive healthcare system.
Could The Solution Be the Iris Network?
The Iris blockchain network seeks to make healthcare data secure, centralized, accountable, and accessible to those who need it most. By allowing providers, patients, and researchers to upload data to its blockchain network, it gives each participant a time-stamped, secure, and universally accessible store of data.
Patients and their healthcare providers will be able to access their entire medical history from a centralized store of secure data. Researchers, once beholden to surveys and limited data, could now have access to millions of completely confidential health profiles, accelerating medical innovation.
Purchasable, secure, confidential data would allow insurance providers greater insight into the market than ever, possibly bringing down the cost of that bane of modern living: health insurance. By bringing blockchain technologies to the healthcare industry, Iris could make the world a healthier, happier place to be.
How Iris Works
The Ethereum network-based Iris platform essentially works like any other blockchain technology. Using cryptography to create a continually-growing list of digital records, these “blocks” of records are then distributed into decentralized networks, which any user can access with proper computational verification. The revolutionary aspect of Iris is to take this technology that has been used for financial instruments like Bitcoin and Ethereum, and apply it to record management.
Imagine your medical history being as secure as a Bitcoin, or two doctors on opposite sides of the world accessing a single patient’s medical record being as simple as sending an Ethereum through the Lightning network.
Incentivizing the uploading of data to the network by patients and authorized healthcare professionals, these uploaders of data, called “Miners” are given an Iris token, similar to any other digital currency like Ripple or Bitcoin Cash. Miners can then sell these Iris tokens to buyers- insurance providers, researchers, and other Big Data firms- who can use these coins to purchase aggregated, anonymized healthcare data.
This Iris Ecosystem gives miners access to the most efficient and safe version of healthcare records possible, reduces providers’ overhead from archaic forms of data storage, and ultimately makes the market for healthcare data safer, more confidential place. Proper implementation of Iris could see healthcare providers and insurance companies saving billions of dollars, and doctors and researchers saving untold amount of lives.
Iris: The Future Of Blockchain?
While in the past few months regulatory agencies and governments have attempted to rein in blockchain technologies, the technology continues to improve the world at an astonishing pace and scope.
While blockchain technologies continue to decentralize and anonymize currency (for better or for worse), those same principles can continue to be creatively applied to other sectors, making them more efficient and safer. The Iris blockchain network is not only a revolution for the healthcare industry, but proof-of-use for blockchain making the world a happier, healthier, place to live.
The author has had a working or personal relationship with one or more companies mentioned in this article in the past. Access to mentioned company’s management and information was made through the author’s personal network. All information was vetted prior to posting.
This essay is not intended to be a source of investment, financial, technical, tax, or legal advice. All of this content is for informational purposes only.