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Blockchain Saves The Dayta

October 3, 2018
Posted by: Gerald “Pharmacist Jerry” Finken, RPh, MS; Contributor, Meghan Mosser

Blockchain Saves The DataPhoto credit: Healthcare IT News

HIPAA violations, data breaches and theft – these are three things nobody wants to encounter, but with patient data becoming more accessible to patients, these threats are becoming a real possibility, not only in the world of patient data, but also in pharmaceutical companies and clinical trials. Is there a way to stop or at least minimize these threats? Maybe blockchain is the answer.

According to an article written by @DAndrewArnold and published by Forbes.com, most people don’t associate blockchain with the healthcare world. That said, more and more companies appear to be exploring its use.  I think this is because it stores information in blocks that can’t be altered or accessed except by those individuals who have security access — or at least, this is my understanding of the use of blockchain today. I base this on my own purchasing of Bitcoin, prompted by my interest in learning how the security surrounding it works.

Blockchain could be revolutionary for the healthcare world since it is heading towards all electronic health records.

Electronic health records (EHR) are the future of healthcare. EHRs would enable patients, and providers alike, to access health information from multiple different sources. For example, if a patient comes into the ER, the providers there would want to know what happened at their last annual doctor’s visit. This would not only be helpful information, but it could also be lifesaving information.

However, with this lifesaving information comes the frightening possibility that access to a patient’s information could be granted to someone who should not be privy.  This is where blockchain comes in. Blockchain would only allow access to the people who need to and/or should have access to a patient’s records. Moreover, a data breach would be virtually impossible.

If pharmaceutical companies got involved, we could realize the many benefits from blockchain sooner rather than later.  If you’ve ever worked in a pharmacy, or even just been prescribed medication, you can imagine how hard it is to keep track of all those pills, especially controlled substances like opioids. Well, blockchain would allow for a complete record of the transport of drugs. Not only would this lower drug theft in transport, but the recipients would also know from where their drugs actually originated. It would help with the documentation of drugs so that pharmacies wouldn’t have to guess.

Additionally, imagine using blockchain in clinical trials and the impact on data integrity and security.   I believe there would be an immediate impact on clinical trial material traceability from API to patient dosing which could easily prevent one of the biggest fears in a clinical trial: the wrong drug being given to the wrong patient. Blockchain would better streamline this process and make it more effective.

I think blockchain would be an innovative addition to the healthcare world and could save everyone a whole bunch of potential trouble.

What do you think?

 

 

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