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by Rich Herrington

Here’s to Your (Data) Health

Data is the new global currency, making healthcare the richest of all. Unfortunately, the industry has been incapable of managing this wealth properly.

Unfortunate because no matter how often “human-centric” or “value-based” objectives are discussed with the best intentions, without proper data management, these critical objectives are impossible to meet.

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The greatest challenges facing the industry are no secret—non-interoperable silos, technology adoption lag, mismanagement of flawed record systems, a mixed bag of legacy and newer devices that don’t play well with each other, patchwork and reactive security. All wrapped with a regulatory bow and a dose of compliance deadlines.

There are a number of relevant treatments for these industry ailments. Artificial intelligence (AI), cloud, and even augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) have passed the eye test and are already proven for efficacy. Blockchain, however, is still something of an unknown with a large majority of healthcare leaders still in preliminary learning and investigating phases.

By next year, 20 percent of healthcare entities will move beyond pilots and use blockchain for operations and patient identity. That’s a good start, but it also means that 80 percent won’t. That’s understandable as most industries view blockchain solely in terms of Bitcoin cryptocurrency and a fringe technology.

The reality is that blockchain has the potential to address a list of challenges that ail healthcare the most. For those still exploring its merits, here’s a prescription for better data health through blockchain application:


This is the most reviewed benefit of blockchain for good reason. The centralized and siloed databases relied upon across healthcare are largely non-interoperable, and therefore, counter to patient-centric care. A centralized model is the proverbial “all eggs in one basket”—widely understood to be a bad idea. Losing the basket equates to losing all of the eggs. Centralization creates a single point of failure, as well as a single point of attack for a complex landscape of threats. When properly established, blockchain provides decentralized, encrypted security against: hackers, data corruption, and hardware failure.

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) data security

Four million connected medical devices are contributing to the already massive amount of data in healthcare’s possession. The healthcare IoT market’s projected growth to $137 billion US worldwide in the next two years is evidence that healthcare’s digital transformation is gaining traction. A combination of AI and blockchain enables a complete audit trail of all data transactions.

Population health data

Speaking of value-based healthcare—challenges with interoperability, sharing, and security in population demographic studies can be solved with blockchain, while providing improved data integrity and real-time updates. Additionally, participants can be incentivized with cryptocurrency (used towards healthcare expenses) to improve data quality.

Clinical trial data

Here, blockchain can put any concerns of transparency and accuracy in reporting to rest. Time-stamped authenticity is assured when smart contracts are used on the blockchain. These act as digital thumbprints while saving time, money, and preventing fraud. Additionally, blockchain covers the supply chain management and tracking of pharmaceuticals, which leads to

...Drug track-and-trace data

Blockchain can deliver compliance for each requirement of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA). At a cost of 1 million lives and $200 million US lost per year, the counterfeit drug trade is everyone’s problem—not just big pharma. Read more on blockchain’s alignment with meeting FDA criteria in our latest whitepaper, “RX in Chains”.

Supplemental benefits to this blockchain prescription include: patient-controlled data, gamification, and ultimately—genuine human-centric healthcare.

To learn how our team of blockchain/DLT, certified ethical hackers, and data security experts empower clients to transform through blockchain adoption, download our whitepaper.

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