FRAMEWORK : Health Care Data
How Blockchain Technology and Financial Services Best Practices Can Help Transform Electronic Health Records
One of my passions for years has been to demonstrate the transferability of financial services data management best practices to the healthcare industry. I’ve spoken and written about specific opportunities—yet, it’s been hard for people to act upon this connection.
Now, Blockchain may offer the bridge.
In “The Potential for Blockchain to Transform Electronic Health Records,” John D. Halamka offers a look at how blockchain “has the potential to enable secure lifetime medical record sharing across providers.”
Just as blockchain was conceived as a “ledger for financial transactions” and uses “public key cryptographically secured lists of all deposits and withdrawals,” a blockchain-based electronic health record (EHR) would “display data from every database referenced in the ledger.”
“The end result would be perfectly reconciled community-wide information about you, with guaranteed integrity from the point of data generation to the point of use, without manual human intervention.”
In contrast to the existing EHR models, blockchain offers a “different construct, providing a universal set of tools for cryptographic assurance of data integrity, standardized auditing, and formalized ‘contracts’ for data access” – just like financial services’ data governance best practices.
The difference, of course, is that financial services uses blockchain for bank transactions, whereas in this case healthcare professionals and patients use blockchain technology for consumer medical records. Proven financial services data management best practices can be built into a blockchain-based EHR:
- data integrity
- data completeness
As the author’s experiment and MIT research suggest, we are starting to seek innovations originating in different wide-spread industries that can then be applied across many domains.
Blockchain will be the common innovation applied across many unique industries.
In healthcare, adopting proven financial services’ data management best practices into blockchain technology makes a truly “universal” electronic health record possible in the not-to-distant future.