FAB Use Case: Healthcare

In this series, we tackle different potential use cases of Fast Access Blockchain and how we can build a better world through our solutions.

New Applications, New Business Models, New Possibilities

Applications which are an ideal fit for blockchain technology have the following characteristics:

  • Involve multiple organizations
  • Where trust is key, or trust is presently severely eroded
  • Proof is key
  • Involve exchange/transfer of assets or value
  • Involve data sharing or presently suffers from silo’d data
  • Benefit from micro transactions/streaming
  • Have opportunities for new business models, products or services

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Why is Blockchain Needed?

Hacking healthcare information is unbelievably valuable. Healthcare records are one of the most lucrative hacking opportunities for modern hackers for several reasons.

Firstly, it’s very easy to break into medical records. Healthcare institutions don’t have the best cyber-security professionals because it is not their greatest priority, and the encryption protocols used are generally outdated and easy to exploit. When criminals asses the best Risk vs. Reward, hacking healthcare organizations usually comes out near the top.

Secondly, once you gain access to health care records, there is usually a lot of data able to be stolen because everyone has health care records. In January 2015, insurance provider Anthem Blue Cross had a vulnerability that exposed 78 million people alone. Other large cases affect between 200,000 to 10 million.

Thirdly, there are many uses for the information. Insurance fraud, blackmail and even identity theft are all possible. Some hackers sell the information back to the affected organizations through ransomware and DDos attacks, others use the health information themselves for fraud or to undergo medical operations, and others to third parties.

The effects can become quite dangerous in the hands of third parties. Many who can access to records or access to medical record systems can sell their knowledge on the dark web to terrorist organizations who use the information to cause targeted chaos to a specific target or healthcare provider, blackmail important persons or gain insights into their enemies. Nation- states also buy this information with the express goal of destabilizing national systems or databases in use at hospitals, causing financial harm through forcing the host Government to reimburse effected parties and installing malware to continuously spy.

Clearly, it is quite lucrative for hackers to target healthcare with the list of potential clients they have, and quite dangerous to society. Blockchain for medical records has the possibility to mitigate these potential threats and protect your records.

Additionally, in the avenue of client care, there are vast ways to improve the current silo’d nature of medical record keeping.

Possible Implementations

With blockchain technology, the public can take control of their electronic medical records (EMR). Medical record data is scattered in different systems across different health care providers that we use, and the vast majority of this data is not shared or interoperable. As a result an individual’s medical record history is highly fragmented and not under their own control, perhaps because of moving from one city to another, or receiving care from different providers due to referrals. In cases of requiring emergency medical treatment for example, the person’s medical records might not be accessible.

Now, if instead their full medical record history was in a secure cloud storage, and a blockchain based application was used to provide (read and write) permission to parts of that data, for time periods specified by the individual, depending on the care being received, under the individual’s control, this would ensure continuity of the data, as well as put the control of the data in the hands of the individual. Additionally, updates of patient information would be propagated immediately across the network.

These measures would combat against threats of hacking well. Blockchain networks are extremely difficult to hack simply because of the consensus mechanism.

For further security the EMR data could be distributed using methods such as distributed hash tables (DHT) so that any particular individual’s data is distributed over a large number of random nodes, but with adequate duplication such that the failure of any node would not result in loss of data. Also, timestamped records of medical procedures and operations could be shared with insurance companies to protect against fraudulent insurance claims.

This is only the beginning. Once there is a store of medical history for millions of people, the subsets of the data can be anonymized and then, given individual permission, supplied or sold to researchers for scientific research- analogous to organ donations.

Real-time data from wearable sensors can also be stored as part of an individual’s EMR data. One can imagine for example that a cardiac physician could recommend subscription to a 24/7 cardiac monitoring service that monitors and analyzes the real-time sensor data for at risk patients and provides automatic SMS alerts if specified thresholds are exceeded. Similarly, results of daily self administered tests of blood glucose levels or blood pressure at home for example, could also be stored as part of one’s EMR data. This would give doctors a more fine-grained picture of a patient’s condition than could be obtained from tests done at regular appointment intervals, monthly or bi-monthly for example. If the data indicated improvement in health, then previously scheduled regular appointments could be cancelled altogether, saving time and money.

People with severe medical conditions such as epilepsy, could wear an electronic medical alert bracelet that holds a cryptographic key that in conjunction with the cryptographic key from a licensed physician would provide emergency access to the person’s medical records for emergency treatment.

There are endless amounts of useful applications to implement these systems that not only combat threats of information loss and information being inaccessible, but also provide added value to the health care experience for patients.

https://fabcoin.co

https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/public-sector/articles/blockchain-opportunities-for-health-care.html

A distributed hash table (DHT) is a class of a decentralized distributed system that provides a lookup service similar to a hash table: (key, value) pairs are stored in a DHT, and any participating node can efficiently retrieve the value associated with a given key. Responsibility for maintaining the mapping from keys to values is distributed among the nodes, in such a way that a change in the set of participants causes a minimal amount of disruption. This allows a DHT to scale to extremely large numbers of nodes and to handle continual node arrivals, departures, and failures.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributed_hash_table

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