How Can Data Privacy Revolutionize Healthcare and Provide Telemedicine Across Borders?
By Kurt Nielsen, Co-Founder of Partisia Blockchain
The challenges in the healthcare sector associated with data privacy are well known. From data breaches and antiquated data management processes to a general lack of transparency, each conspires to negatively impact the patient experience. Clearly it is time for the healthcare industry to make a change. Health has also been identified as a key cornerstone of one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The mission of the third SDG is to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all ages. At Partisia Blockchain, we firmly believe that Multi-party Computation technology and blockchain technology paired together make it possible to advance the healthcare infrastructures of the world, increasing access to care for all.
Recent developments in healthcare and data technology have ushered in significant improvements in the quality and availability of healthcare for people globally, though significant inequalities still exist. Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic we have witnessed a dramatic increase in popularity and usage, achieving before-unseen levels of adoption. This is a game-changer for patients and practitioners who otherwise might struggle to access healthcare. This extends to frontline workers who are at the highest risk of contracting Covid-19 on a ward, as well as patients whose lives would be in danger should they catch the virus. Such advancements in telehealth technology has undoubtedly made it easier to maintain care throughout the pandemic, as well as making it more accessible across borders.
In spite of the rise in telemedicine, mistrust between patients and the healthcare industry still lingers. There is often a lack of transparency regarding patients’ data which has subsequently led to a rise in healthcare data breaches. The infamously archaic systems utilized in most parts of the healthcare industry are not well suited for telemedicine and more decentralized use of data. Looking for a solution, those within the blockchain industry have been pointing towards Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) as the ideal technology upon which to build the next generation of healthcare applications. In an effort to overcome these pressing data driven challenges, the principles of blockchain — security, anonymity and transparency — seem a natural fit for the healthcare industry and have the potential to introduce an element of interoperability that would enable ease of data sharing with healthcare providers and their patients alike.
However, while blockchain provides significant advancements related to security, blockchain alone does not ensure adequate protections for privacy. This is where Partisia Blockchain can help. Our Web 3.0 public blockchain is built for trust, transparency, and privacy, and ensures that users’ data is kept safe. As our solution is focused on solving decentralization’s confidentiality and privacy challenges, we are leveraging blockchain technology by pairing it with MPC technology to create one of the most viable solutions to attain actual data security while maintaining full privacy for all parties involved, a core ideal upon which the crypto industry was built. The benefits wrought from combining Secure Multi-Party Computation (MPC) with blockchain technology and utilizing this cutting edge technology to create effective data management processes in the healthcare industry are endless. MPC facilitates confidential use of data across boundaries and decentralized control, which pave the way for combined use of data across independent public and private data sources and empower the patient to accept/reject confidential use of the enriched data. The patient can choose to allow their doctor access to view their files, health records, and personal information, but if any party without explicit permission tries to access the data on the servers running the MPC system, all data about the patient will remain hidden. This eliminates the risk of the leaking of sensitive health data, as hackers would not be able to get hold on any data by breaching the individual servers behind the MPC system.
The technology we have developed at Partisia Blockchain, which merges MPC with blockchain, is by its very nature decentralized. This means that the technology itself does not operate out of any given jurisdiction or hospital server; it can operate across any or all hospitals, hospital networks, servers, or jurisdictions. This, in combination with the fact that the popularity of telemedicine is surging across the world, will allow patients in developing countries to consult with doctors from abroad in areas where they might have a lack of access to adequate healthcare infrastructures. A patient with a lack of access to adequate healthcare services in India may consult with a doctor in Great Britain in a secure fashion, without being subject to extraneous costs or burdens, solely through the power of the internet while being protected by blockchain and MPC. MPC allows for advanced analytics on data from patients across the globe without compromising confidentiality. This has the potential of significantly improving the assessment of treatments in use the world over, opening the door to new potential treatments for rare or common diseases, as MPC breaks down the boundaries to include patients on a global scale.
MPC and DLT are imperative to tackling the issues inherent in the healthcare industry. By implementing infrastructures that will ensure users’ privacy is maintained, data holders in the healthcare industry can improve access to healthcare and in the process, ensure that those that do access healthcare are not at risk of having their sensitive data made public. Secure and private data management can create a progressive technological ecosystem that supports the key long-term goals of the SDGs and ensures healthy lives and wellbeing across the world.